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How Much Does it Cost to Become an American Citizen?

Becoming an American citizen is something that many immigrants, whether they’re living in the United States on a visa, with a green card or simply considering applying from their home country dream about. There are few countries in the world that can give immigrants the opportunities afforded to them that the United States can.

The road to becoming an American citizen is one that can seem somewhat complicated and time consuming when you consider all of the paperwork you need to file and hoops that you need to jump through. For many immigrants, the process of applying to become an American citizen can also be a fairly expensive one.

Since numerous documents are usually needed and different pieces of paperwork will need to be filed, how much it will actually cost to apply for citizenship can also be confusing for many people. Below you’ll find a breakdown of all of the basic fees that you’ll incur on the path to becoming an American citizen, though these are subject to changes periodically according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office.

immigrants walking off the boat looking for american citizenship

Naturalization Application

As of 2013, the current fee for the naturalization application process is $595 per application. While this might sound like a lot of money to many people, the USCIS estimates that it actually costs them about $655 to process a single application.

That means that only about 90-percent of the cost of processing naturalization applications comes directly from applicants.

Applicants seeking naturalization will also be charged a biometrics fee – a fee for basic services like fingerprint processing. The current biometrics fee is $85 in addition to the application fee, bringing the total up to $680 per complete naturalization application.

Green Card Application Fees

The fee for applying for a green card is a bit higher than the naturalization application fee. In order to apply for a green card, an individual will need to pay $985 per application. There are no discounts for family or couples applications.

Temporary Application Fees

In some cases, individuals may seek temporary legal status. This status is similar to having a visa, but generally allows a person to enjoy more of the same rights that somebody with a green card would.

The cost of certain temporary legal status applications is $1,130. The cost of temporary legal status applications has risen dramatically since 2010, prompting many to seek more affordable visas that afford them the right to work, study or live in the United States for a certain period of time.

Is It Worth It?

Application fees to become a United States citizen can seem somewhat cost-prohibitive to many immigrants struggling to make ends meet and pay for day-to-day expenses that are necessary to survive. However, the promise of a better life for themselves and their families is ultimately what makes all of the time and money you spend applying for citizenship worth every second and penny.

Many people that come to the United States to live legally will also find that they can make much more money than would be possible in their home country, making the application and processing fees seem miniscule by comparison.

american citizen holding a flag

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