How Much Does it Cost to Apply for US Citizenship?
When you apply for naturalization, you must complete and submit the Form N-400, which is also known as the Application for Naturalization. Along with this form, you must submit a payment called a filing fee. This payment must be submitted by mail with your completed Form N-400. Because these fees are subject to change, it is important to double-check with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before sending your payment and application.
Naturalization Costs and Fees Breakdown
|Government Fees||Variable Costs|
|USCIS Filing fee – $640|
As of December 1, 2017
As of December 1, 2017 This fixed government fee is for filing of the N-400 application for naturalization.
|Biometrics Fee – $85||Applications require biometric fees for your fingerprints taken.|
Government Fee Exceptions
If you are a military applicant filing under section 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you will not have to pay any fees.
If you are concerned about financial hardship or inadequate income, you may submit a Form I-942 (Request for Reduced Fee). However, it is important to note that USCIS will only honor requests made by qualified applicants and that even if your I-942 application is accepted, you must still pay the entire biometrics fee.
Miscellaneous Costs – Varies
Locating, obtaining and preparing supporting evidence: Along with the required fee you must submit supporting documents with your Form N-400. These may include but are not limited to immigration, court, bank and tax records. You are responsible for any payment required to obtain the original document(s) or copies of these documents.
You must provide these documents to USCIS in the original language along with the English translation when applicable. You are responsible for paying for any translation services, which generally cost a few hundred dollars.
Travel Costs: You are responsible for paying for any train fare, bus fare, tolls, gasoline, airline tickets or other transportation costs associated with the acquisition of the required supporting documents.
More Money Matters
Attorney’s Fees: The amount you will incur for legal costs associated with your application for naturalization will depend on several things. If your application is fairly straight forward, with minimal complications, you can expect to pay less for legal services. However, difficulties in completing the application, acquiring the supporting documents or verifying your eligibility for naturalization will likely result in additional costs for these services.
So basically, the more time your attorney has to devote to your case, the more you can expect to pay.
Because these expenses can add up quickly, it is wise to learn about the pros and cons of maintaining lawful permanent resident status versus becoming an American citizen.
How can I reduce these costs?
The simplest — but riskiest — way to cut the costs associated with your application for naturalization is to do everything yourself. On one hand, this means that you won’t incur any attorneys fees. On the other hand, without the help of a qualified immigration attorney, you have greater chances of making serious mistakes that could delay the review of your application, or even result in its rejection. Your only recourse in either case would be to file an appeal, and you may end up hiring an immigration lawyer to help you with that in the long run anyhow.
If you really don’t want to hire an immigration attorney, or you really don’t think you can afford it, there is another option. Here at Zontlaw, we provide a service that allows you to do most of the paperwork yourself, and have one of our experienced immigration attorneys review the material before you send it to USCIS. Once you have sent the application to us for our reveiw, the attorney assigned to your case will go over it thoroughly to identify any mistakes. If any are found, the attorney will then alert you about the problem, and let you know how to correct it before sending the application to USCIS. By using this approach, which is known as legal coaching, you will have peace of mind knowing that your application has been reviewed by an experienced immigration attorney without incurring significant legal costs.
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