Balancing the Budget for Your Marriage Green Card Journey

marriage-based green card cost

The marriage-based green card cost can vary depending on several factors. Here are some of the costs associated with the process:

Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative): the filing fee for Form I-130 is $535. This form is used to establish the qualifying relationship between the U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner and the foreign national spouse.

Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status): The filing fee for Form I-485 is $1,140. This form is used to apply for a green card from within the United States.

Biometrics Fee: There may be a biometrics fee for fingerprinting and background checks. This fee was $85.

Affidavit of Support: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitioner must also submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate their ability to financially support the immigrant. There is no fee to file this form, but it is an important part of the process.

Medical Examination and Vaccinations: The cost of the required medical examination and any necessary vaccinations can vary depending on the doctor or clinic you visit. Prices may range from $200 to $500 or more.

Travel and Interview Expenses: If the foreign spouse is outside the United States, they may need to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. This can involve travel costs, such as airfare and lodging.

How to reduce the cost of a marriage green card application?

Reducing the cost of a marriage-based green card application in the United States can be challenging, as many of the fees and expenses are set by the government and are not easily avoidable. However, there are some strategies to help you manage and potentially lower the overall costs:

  • Check Fee Waivers: Some applicants may be eligible for fee waivers, which can exempt them from certain USCIS fees. Fee waivers are typically available to those with limited income and financial hardship. You’ll need to provide documentation to demonstrate your eligibility for a fee waiver.
  • Properly Prepare and Review Forms: Filing the application forms accurately and completely the first time can help avoid costly delays and rejections. Be sure to carefully read and follow the USCIS instructions for each form, and consider seeking legal advice or assistance if you’re unsure.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Legal Services: While it’s generally a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney for complex cases or if you have concerns about your eligibility, you can reduce costs by handling some parts of the application process yourself, such as gathering supporting documents and filling out the forms.
  • Maintain Up-to-Date Immigration Status: If you are already in the United States on a valid visa, make sure to maintain your legal status and avoid any violations, as fixing immigration violations can be costly.
  • Medical Examination Costs: To reduce the cost of the required medical examination, shop around for civil surgeons who are authorized by USCIS to conduct the medical exam. Prices can vary, so it’s worth finding a more affordable option.
  • Translation and Document Certification: If documents need to be translated or certified, consider finding reputable but cost-effective translation and certification services.
  • Travel Wisely: If the foreign spouse is outside the United States, plan your travel efficiently. Look for deals on airfare and accommodation and consider the timing of your trip to minimize costs.
  • Budget and Save: Plan ahead for the costs associated with the green card application. This can include setting aside money for fees, medical exams, and other expenses.
  • Be Patient: The green card application process can be lengthy, so be prepared for a wait. Rushing can lead to mistakes and additional costs.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up to date with changes in immigration laws, regulations, and fees, as they can change over time.

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