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January 17, 2019

WERNICK: Don’t let naturalization filing fee stop you from applying for citizenship

May 25, 2018
Visa (tzahiV/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Can’t afford the naturalization filing fee? That’s no excuse for not becoming a U.S. citizen. If you are a green card holder and want to naturalize, you have many payment options, including a lottery for a free fee voucher, getting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant you a waiver of the entire $725 filing fee, a partial fee waiver and paying by credit card. Want free help completing your N-400, Application for Naturalization? Sign up to attend the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship Application Assistance Event and Immigration Fair on June 30 at John Jay College. Get an appointment by calling (646) 664-9400 or online at

Why become a U.S. citizen? Besides getting the right to vote, getting U.S. citizenship is the best protection against deportation. As a U.S. citizen, you can petition to get green cards for your parents, brothers and sisters and your married and adult children, rights not available to permanent residents. Also, some jobs, such a police officer and firefighter, require U.S. citizenship.

You can get a full waiver of the $725 filing fee if you are receiving a means-tested public benefit, your household income is no more than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines or, you are in short-term financial distress — meaning you are unemployed or have big medical bills. If your household income is between 150% and 200% of the poverty guidelines, you pay a reduced filing fee of $405. To pay with your credit card, file Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction.

If you don’t qualify for a full or partial fee waiver, but your income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level, consider entering Gov. Cuomo’s Office for New Americans NaturalizeNY lottery. Enter the lottery online at or by calling the New Americans Hotline at (800) 566-7636. You have until June 15 to enter. Winners will be notified before the June 30 CUNY/Daily News event so you can get your voucher while getting help completing your N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Appointments for the June 30 citizenship application assistance event are limited. Don’t be left out. Call now.

Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 7th Fl., 4 New York Plaza, New York, N.Y., 10004 or email to [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @awernick.

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