I know a lot of people aren’t thinking about applying for Naturalization right now because they won’t be processed quickly enough to vote this November, or because it could take USCIS a year or longer to process the case, or because they just want to hold tight to their money in uncertain times. But, I want to make sure that people know that the cost to become a U.S. Citizen is going up significantly on October 2nd. If you’ve been postponing your Naturalization application, you may want to start to take action.
Currently, the government filing fees for a a N-400 Application for Naturalization are $725. Starting on October 2nd, it will go up to $1200 (or $1190 if you file online). That’s an increase of over 80%! You don’t get better service, faster adjudication or any benefit at all by paying more, so there’s no need to wait and give the government over $500 for them to do the same work.
In our office, it generally takes 3-4 weeks from when a client hires us to when we’re able to get the application out (of course, this depends on how quickly the client is able to get questionnaires and documents to us). We can move faster as the deadline approaches, but if you’re thinking about working with an attorney, I would not wait until mid to late September to get started.
I definitely recommend talking with an attorney to go over your eligibility for Naturalization, but in general, applicants must:
- Be over 21
- Have had their lawful permanent residency for 4 years and 9 months (or 2 years and 9 months if the green card was obtained through marriage AND the marriage still exists)
- Not have committed any serious crimes since becoming a lawful permanent resident
- Be able to pass an English exam (about a 4th grade level)
- Be able to pass a U.S. history and civics exam
- Have filed federal tax returns since becoming a lawful permanent resident
- Have resided in the U.S. for a total of 2.5 years out of the last five years (or 1.5 years if applying based on marriage)
- Have not taken any single trip outside the U.S. for more than one year in the last five years (or 3 years if applying based on marriage)
Becoming a U.S. Citizen is a big deal. U.S. Citizens can vote, they can run for public office, they have fewer visa restrictions (well…at least when there’s not a global pandemic), they can leave the U.S. for an extended amount of time and not be denied re-entry. Our team would love to talk with you about the possibility of applying and saving money before October 2nd. Call us at 678-713-4255 or visit our homepage to schedule a consultation.