How Much Does It Cost to Become a U.S. Citizen in 2021?

USA Flag with Money

You’re finally ready to become a citizen of the United States. You’ve made sure that you’ve completed and fit all requirements to become a citizen, and it’s now time to start your application. It’s essential before you begin filing your paperwork to understand how much it costs to become a citizen. You must be prepared for the fees associated with a naturalization application and aware of special circumstances where you may be eligible for waived or reduced application fees.

How Do You File to become a U.S. Citizen?

To officially apply to become a United States citizen, you’ll need to fill out the application for naturalization, known as the N-400 form. You must make sure you’re eligible to become a U.S. Citizen. If you’re not eligible, you’ll waste time filling out paperwork and lose a significant amount of money. If you qualify, it’s essential to submit all documents and forms truthfully and adequately to ensure you’re not denied for citizenship.

How Much Does It Cost?

As of 2021, the current fee to become a citizen is $725. This fee includes the application fee of $640 that the USCIS requires to process your application, along with an $85 biometrics fee. The biometrics fee is a service that requires fingerprints, photographs, and signatures to confirm your identity, perform security checks and run a background check. These fees do not include any additional services you may have used, such as an immigration lawyer. It’s important to remember that all payments are non-refundable, even if your application is not approved.

There are a few ways to pay your application fee. If you decide to apply through the myUSCIS portal, you can pay your fee online, which is the easiest and most convenient option. However, if you choose to submit your application through the mail, you’ll need to pay through a cashier’s check, personal check, credit card, or money order. Remember that you’re unable to submit cash to process your application.

You must pay all of your fees through one payment source, so you can’t split up the application fee and biometrics fee. If you’re applying with your entire family, you’ll need to pay for your whole family with one form of payment. It’s essential to send the exact amount required, or else your application will be rejected with your money refunded, and you’ll have to resubmit your application and try again.

What if I Can’t Afford the Fee?

It’s important to plan for your U.S. citizenship application fees. Since you know the application fee, it might be useful to start putting a little bit of money to the side every week to ensure you can afford your application fee. However, there are some circumstances where you may be eligible for a waived or reduced application fee. These special circumstances include:

• If you’re over the age of 75, you don’t need to pay the $85 biometrics fee, only the citizenship application fee of $640.

• If you qualify for an income-based waiver or reduction, you may receive a full or partial discount depending on your unique situation.

• If you’re applying based on your military service, you won’t have to pay any fees.

It’s important to file your application to become a U.S. citizen as soon as possible to ensure that the price does not rise. If you’re confused about the filing process or want expert help every step of the way, consider hiring an immigration lawyer to help you through the U.S. citizenship application process.


Rick Sterger is a licensed attorney practicing immigration law throughout the United States.  His practice, located in San Diego, California represents client before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Executive Office of Immigration Review (Immigration Court), Board of Immigration Appeals, and Circuit Courts of Appeals.  Rick proudly maintains the practice of providing his initial client consultation for FREE.  To schedule a consultation, call (760) 280-7900 today.

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