As of 2015, applicants for U.S. citizenship must pay up to $680 in fees in connection with the filing of Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This fee includes a $595 application fee and an $85 biometric fee. Military applicants are not required to pay any fees to apply for citizenship, and individuals 75 years of age and older are not required to pay the $85 biometric fee.
The fees required to apply for citizenship are a significant barrier to citizenship for many of the approximately 8.8 million legal permanent residents in the United States available for citizenship, states Immigration Impact. In 2013, less than 9 percent of the eligible individuals applied for citizenship. The fees are particularly burdensome for Mexican immigrants, many of whom belong to the working poor class, notes NBC News.
The cost of applying for citizenship rose dramatically from 2000 to 2008, rising from $225 in 2000 to $675 in 2008, according to NBC News. In November 2015, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson asked his agency's Citizenship and Immigration director to consider partial fee waivers for poor applicants, but was rejected due to the agency's reliance on the fees for operation. In November 2014, President Obama issued an executive order providing applicants with the option to pay fees with credit cards in installments as part of an effort to encourage citizenship.