Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to that question. The cost depends on what society you join, where you join that society, and what portion of the lineage you need to document to complete your application.
Smaller societies may charge you only a lifetime application fee of several hundred dollars or less. Essentially, they’re charging you to review the application and to off set their activities fee by a small amount.
Larger, decentralized societies (the Mayflower Society is a prime example) vary their fee by the location you apply. Even though they may send the application to one place to be reviewed, these societies hold their resources locally. As a result, the fee you pay will vary based on local needs.
Larger centralized societies generally have a standard application review fee but will also charge local dues. This allows them to standardize where they can and then still meets the needs of the local organizations.
And then there’s the cost of the documents for your application. (More to follow…)
What does this mean for you? If there’s a budget concern, it’s best to ask about fees going in. Most societies are glad to clarify. They don’t want to shock you – or put in the time only to find you can’t pay the necessary fees to complete your application.