Everyone knows that being a U.S. Citizen has many more benefits than just being a U.S. Resident (Green Card holder). So why don’t all Residents apply for naturalization to obtain their U.S. Citizenship as soon as possible?
There are a variety of reasons why Residents delay applying, including the high cost of the application filing fee, currently $725. President Trump tried to raise the fee to $1,170 in 2020, but that increase has been temporarily halted by a federal court.
Many Residents do not realize that by delaying filing for naturalization, they actually increase their overall costs, since a Resident must apply for naturalization six months or more before their green card expires, in order to obtain automatic renewal of their residency status.
Otherwise, once their green card expires, they will not have any proof of their legal immigration status to extend a driver’s license, travel abroad or even obtain employment.
Up until a few years ago, Residents who filed for Naturalization before the expiration of their green cards were able to obtain residency extensions until they naturalized, however, these days, local USCIS offices often no longer provide such extensions without a receipt showing the Resident filed his or her green card renewal application.
The current green card renewal fee is $540, nearly as much as the current fee for naturalization. So don’t end up wasting money filing to renew your green card, when you could spend the money for your naturalization instead.