How Much Does it Cost to Become a U.S. Citizen?

Updated on April 4, 2024

At a Glance

  • The total cost to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization is $725.
  • This includes a $640 application fee (N-400 fee) and an $85 biometrics services fee.
  • Fee reductions and waivers are available for certain individuals, such as those aged 75 or older, active-duty military or veterans, and those experiencing financial hardship.
  • Payment options include money orders, cashier’s checks, personal checks, or credit cards, depending on the location of the application filing within or outside the U.S. It is important to follow specific payment instructions and ensure the correct amounts are paid using one payment method.

You’ve been patient and have waited out the time. You’ve made sure to keep to all the regulations of being a lawful permanent resident and have checked that you’re eligible for U.S. citizenship. You’re finally ready to apply for naturalization. But now you need to know: How much does it cost to become a U.S. citizen?

Below, we’ll look at the fees which apply to a naturalization application and whether you might be eligible to pay reduced fees or have your fees waived. 

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Citizen?

As of this writing, the total cost to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization is $725. This total is a combination of multiple fees, which are explained below:

  • N-400 fee of $640 (citizen application fee)
  • Biometrics services fee of $85

Note that these total fees do not include any fees you may have to pay to a service provider or attorney helping you prepare your application. Also, keep in mind both the application fee and the biometrics service fee are non-refundable fees, even if the USCIS rejects your citizenship application.

Citizenship Fee Reductions and Waivers

If you are currently active or retired from the U.S. are 75-years of age or older, or are suffering from financial hardship, you may be eligible to have citizenship fees reduced or, even, waived entirely. 

The chart below shows how waivers and reductions affect citizenship fee for different applicants:

Applicant TypeTypical FeesFee ReductionFee Waiver
Typical Applicant$725$405$0
Application Aged 75 or Older$640$320$0
Active-Duty Military or Veteran$0$0$0

Below, the reductions and waivers for each type of applicant are discussed in more detail.

Reductions and Waivers for Financial Hardship

If you are a typical applicant who qualifies for an income-based waiver or reduction, your fees will be partially reduced ($405) or completely waived ($0).

You will qualify for an income-based waiver or reduction if you meet one of the following requirements: 

  • You are currently undergoing financial hardship, which prevents you from paying the filing fees
  • You or a member of your household currently receive a means-tested benefit.
  • Your overall household income is below 150% of the poverty level at the time you file

Reductions and Waivers for Individuals Aged 75 or Older

If you are 75 years or older, you will be exempt from the biometrics service fee ($85), but will still have to pay the citizenship application fee which can be reduced ($320) or waived ($0).

Reductions and Waivers Active and Retired Military Members

If you are applying based on your military service, you are exempt from both the citizenship application fee ($640) and the biometrics service fee ($85)

How to Pay Citizenship Fees

How you pay your citizenship fees will depend on where you are filing from (with the U.S. or from outside of it) and how you are filing your naturalization application. Read on to learn about the different ways to pay your citizenship fees.

Paying From Within the U.S.

If you are in the U.S. and are filing online through myUSCIS, you will be able to pay your citizenship fees online through the myUSCIS portal as well.

If you are in the U.S. and you submit a paper Form N-400 through the mail, you have the following options to pay your citizenship fees:

  • Money order
  • Cashier’s check
  • Personal check
  • Credit card

Pay with Cashier’s and Personal Checks

When paying with a money order, cashier’s check or a personal check, keep the following in mind:

  • You must spell out the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” as the payee.
  • Payment must be in U.S. currency and drawn from a bank or financial institution within the U.S. 
  • You may attach your check or money order to the top of your Form N-400 with a paperclip when filing.

Paying from Outside the U.S.

If you are paying for your citizenship fees from outside of the U.S., you may pay using any of the following options:

  • Money order
  • Cashier’s check
  • Personal check

Please note that, if paying for your citizenship fees from outside of the U.S., it is best to contact your U.S. embassy or consulate and get specific payment instructions from them.

5 Tips for Paying Your Citizenship Fees

Here are a few general tips to follow when paying your citizenship fees.

  1. Complete the Entire N-400 Form. When filling out your N-400 form, be sure to double-check to make sure you have filled it out completely. Make sure you sign it and place it on top of your Form N-400 when you submit it.
  2. Pay in Exact Amounts. You have to pay the exact amounts, irrespective of the payment method you choose to use. If you don’t, the USCIS will reject your application and will refund your payment. You will then have to resubmit your naturalization application and make the payment again. 
  3. Do Not Send Cash with Your N-400. Do not send or include cash with your paper N-400 if you are submitting it through the mail. You can only use the payment methods we’ve listed above.
  4. Use Form G-1450 for Credit Card Payments. If you pay using a credit card, use Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. Without this form, USCIS will not be able to accept your payment.
  5. Use One Payment Method. Use the same payment method to pay for all of your various fees. You can only select one payment method to pay all your fees through. You can not pay the application fee and the biometric fee using two different payment methods. 
  6. Use the same payment method for yourself and your family’s fees. If you are submitting citizenship applications for your family, you must also use the same payment method for all the applications 

Read More

Final Thoughts

Now you know the answer to “how much does it cost to become a U.S. citizen?”. If you want to make sure you don’t pay a dollar more, make sure you file your citizenship application before any fee increases take force. Or, if you have any other questions relating to applying for citizenship, you can take a look at the detailed guide for N-400 here.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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