How do you join AFTRA? AFTRA is the only union that you can literally “buy” into. You can show up to their offices and simply hand over a hefty wad of cash and sign up there and then. How much does it cost to join AFTRA? As of today’s date the initiation fee in NY is $1300 plus minimum dues of $63.90. Keep in mind, if you join just before the 2nd dues-cycle (as I did!) you will be required to pay another $63.90. A grand total of $1427.80. After one year providing you have some AFTRA jobs under your belt, you may be eligible then to join SAG. You can also join AFTRA by booking an AFTRA job. Last year, I booked a Coke commercial and earned an AFTRA-waiver. That allowed me to reap the residual benefit of an AFRA actor while still able to audition for and book non-union work. As soon as I booked my next AFTRA job I became what is called a “must join”. That simply means that my waiver was no longer valid and before I could record the job I had to join the Union. I literally had to go to the AFTRA headquarters in NYC first thing in the morning before the booking. In fact, I lost a small job on Flight of the Concords the week before because the casting director called me after 6pm the night before the 10am shoot which made it too late for me to go to the AFTRA offices and sign up.