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Obtaining U.S. citizenship is the culmination of a long journey for many people. There are only two ways to become a U.S citizen: either by birth, or by naturalization. There are different pathways through which you can arrive at the point where you file your N-400 form to naturalize. All things being equal, once you reach that point, the naturalization application filing fee is $640. The biometric services fee is $85. This brings the total US citizenship cost to $725.
Needless to say, the most common way of gaining U.S. citizenship is through birth. Generally, the following situations allow you to become a U.S. citizen at birth:
In most cases, you would be considered a U.S citizen if all of the following hold true:
In this case, your citizenship is granted automatically and no form, test, or process is
required. Therefore, no citizenship fee is associated with it.
Your overseas birth will be proof of your citizenship if registered with a U.S. consulate or
embassy. You may want to apply for a passport to have your citizenship recognized. If further proof of your citizenship is needed, then you may file for Form N-600, also known as the “Application for Certificate of Citizenship.”
For those that were not born in the U.S. or to citizen parents, you must go through a process known as naturalization. If you are applying to become a U.S citizen by naturalization and you are a green card holder, then you must meet the following
If you are married to a U.S. citizen and reside within the United States, then the requirement to hold a green card under the continuous residence clause is for 3 years instead of 5. Make sure not to travel outside the United States for durations greater than 6 months. This can adversely affect the continuous residence condition.
For citizenship purposes, “continuous residence” means you have not left the United States for a long period of time. Any travel which puts you outside the United States for more than 6 months will likely be deemed to have disrupted your “continuous residence” requirement.
The naturalization process caters to those who genuinely qualify to have certain requirements waived. These could include a host of situations, some of which may be:
You can read more on the exceptions & accommodations page on the USCIS website.
Depending on your unique situation, you may need to submit more documents and evidence for various aspects of your N-400 application filing. Some common requirements for filing for naturalization under Form N-400 include:
You have to be particularly meticulous with your N-400 application. You will need to inform the USCIS about any arrests, even if no charges were filed. If you have ever failed to file an income tax return, then evidence of correspondence with the IRS should also be filed.
Please check the comprehensive Document Checklist at the end of A Guide to Naturalization (M-476) published by the USCIS website for further details.
As mentioned above, the naturalization application filing fee is $640. The biometric services fee is $85. This brings the total application for naturalization to $725.
While, on its face, the citizenship cost may seem more than the cost to renew a green card, you must take into consideration the fact that naturalization is truly permanent–no need to consistently renew. If your plan is to stay in the U.S. for many decades, then becoming a citizen is the least expensive option.
The road to citizenship is complicated and filled with opportunities to make costly mistakes. Filing the wrong fee, filing to the wrong place, or even filing at the wrong time could result in losing your fee and having to start over. This is why you want to make sure your fees are filed right the first time, and the best way to do that is with the help of an immigration attorney.
VisaNation Law Group’s dedicated team of citizenship attorneys have helped countless people like yourself obtain their citizenship with little hassle. We take care of everything so that all you have to worry about is the citizenship test, and we coach you through that phase as well.
To get in touch with our office and to schedule a consultation, you can fill out this contact form and get started on your journey to citizenship today! However, there is more to getting your citizenship than just knowing how much it costs. Read on below for important filing and process details.