pay one's dues

listen to the pronunciation of pay one's dues
English - English
To acquire status or to earn the right to enjoy certain benefits, especially through lengthy experience, hardship, or service to an organization

He too championed the anti-apartheid cause, paid his dues, had his works banned.

To outlay money which is owed as a membership fee or price of admission

The carrier to Casterbridge came up as Edward stepped into the road, and jumped down from the van to pay toll. . . . The carrier paid his dues.

pay dues
pay taxes, pay membership fees; pay debts
pay one's dues