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The US Citizenship Application Fee

24th May 2011
By Paul Anderson in Immigration Law
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The U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that manages the entire immigration process in the United States.

While applying for a visa or green card, certain petitions/applications have to be filed either at the American Consulate abroad or with the USCIS if the applicant is in the US. These applications/petitions are available on the USCIS website. In addition, there also are many private organizations who have these forms available on their website and charge a fee for assisting their users in filling and filing the applications/petitions. The USCIS is the authority that manages these applications/petitions.

Form N-400, Application for Naturalization is the form that needs to be filed in order to get US citizenship. When the USCIS proposed a fee hike for immigration applications/petitions, there was deep concern that applications filed could decline. And the USCIS also proposed to revise the English and Civics test, and many feared that immigrants might be discouraged about upcoming revisions to the U.S. civics test.

The test change was aimed to gauge immigrants' understanding of concepts in US civics and avoid habitual memorization. Some believed the fee hike for the Naturalization application would be a barrier to citizenship.

The USCIS did not revise the submission fee for the US citizenship application, though the fee was revised for many other petitions/applications.

The submission fee for the US Citizenship application is $680 and this includes a $85 biometric fee. Applicants must send the fee with your application. They have to pay the fee with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Ensure not to use the initials DHS or USDHS and also not to send cash.

Residents of Guam should address the fee payable to the “Treasurer, Guam,”whereas residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands should make the fee payable to the “Commissioner of Finance of the Virgin Islands.”

The $85 Fees for biometric services is separate from your application fee. If required, USCIS may also take your photograph and signature as part of the biometric services. One thing to remember that the application fee is not refundable even if you withdraw your application or if your case is rejected.

If you are applying for naturalization based on your own service in the Armed Forces of the United
States, no filing fee is required.

Applicants 75 years or older, or filing on the basis of one's service in the Armed Forces of the US, or if filing from abroad, need not send the biometric services fee for fingerprinting with his/her application.

Application that do not include the submission fee will be returned to the applicant thus delaying the entire citizenship process. So always ensure the application package has the application, the required supporting documents and the submission fee. Also make sure it is mailed to the correct USCIS address. Not paying due attention to these would result in unnecessary delay.

While submitting your US Citizenship application, if you don't think you can afford to pay the submission fee, you can ask for a “fee waiver” from USCIS. If USCIS grants your request, they will accept your US citizenship application without you having to pay a fee. If they reject your request, they will return your application to you. You will need to reapply and pay the fee.
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