To receive a green card through your marriage to a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident you must prepare personal documents and government applications.
You also must prepare yourself financially. Your green card application comes with multiple forms and fees, and you may also have to pay for copies of personal documents to submit with your application.
How much does a green card cost?
A green card can cost thousands. The total cost depends on the specific facts of your case, but there are some broadly applicable costs you should consider as you prepare to change your immigration status.
How Much Are the Application Fees?
Your green card application is not reduced to just one form. To receive your green card, you must submit multiple forms to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other government agencies. The USCIS receives the vast majority of its funding from application and petition fees, so submission of many of your green card forms costs money.
Many petitions and applications for immigration benefits can be time sensitive, so you should make sure you have access to a substantial amount of money before you start the filing process. Your green card application fees could total up to $1,845 or more, depending on your circumstances, including fees for:
- Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative;
- Biometric services for U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse;
- Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (for applicants already in the U.S.);
- Biometric services for spouse seeking green card;
- Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application (for applicants outside of the U.S.);
- Form I-864 Affidavit of Support;
- Immigrant fee (for applicants outside of the U.S.);
- Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (if applicable);
- Form I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal (if applicable); and
- Form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (if applicable).
If you must submit to a medical examination for your green card, you have to pay for an exam with a USCIS-approved civil surgeon. While prices vary, a civil surgeon examination could cost between $200 and $400 dollars. If not already included in your exam, you need to pay additional money for any required vaccinations you have not received. An experienced immigration attorney can determine what application fees apply to you and help you locate any necessary supplemental services.
Are There Necessary Costs Outside of My Application Fees?
Your application fees are not the only costs associated with your green card application. Your green card application requires you to submit multiple supplemental documents about your life including:
- Copies of official documents proving your spouse’s citizenship or their lawful permanent resident status;
- A copy of your government-issued ID with photo;
- A copy of your marriage certificate;
- Copies of the legal terminations of any prior marriages for you and your spouse (if applicable);
- Financial statements;
- Two identical passport-style photos in color of you and your spouse (separately);
- Birth certificates for any children you had with your spouse;
- Any other documents that prove you have an ongoing marital union;
- Certified police and court records regarding all your criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (regardless of the final disposition);
- Inspection and admission or inspection and parole documentation;
- Proof that you have continuously maintained lawful status since you arrived in the U.S.; and
- Proof your spouse has continuously maintained lawful status since they arrived in the U.S.
If you do not already have these documents, you might have to request them from government agencies and other institutions. Your requests for copies of these documents may come with fees. Also, your application for a green card may require you or your spouse to travel, and you should prepare for those costs early.
In addition to the fees you need to pay the government, you may incur attorney fees. Although you can attempt to file your application on your own, it is easy to make mistakes that may jeopardize your status.
An immigration attorney is an invaluable resource when applying for a green card. They can help you gather all the documents you need, fill out your forms, and file your application. They can also help you prepare for your green card interview.
Attorneys may charge by the hour, or they may prepare your immigration application for a flat fee. Or you can take advantage of Vantage Group Legal’s subscription legal services for a low monthly rate.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
The financial burden of applying for your green card is less overwhelming if you plan early and efficiently. There are many moving parts to a green card application, and most of those parts cost money individually. It is important to know which parts you do and do not need. An immigration attorney can help you streamline your immigration application process so you do not pay unnecessary fees or suffer the financial blow of an unexpected expense.
Vantage Group Legal Services boasts a network of highly experienced and reputable immigration attorneys. Our network attorneys stick by you through the duration of your case and respond to your needs quickly. You will likely have many legal questions and needs as you and your spouse seek to build a life in the United States. We are here to help you. Contact us online or call us at 773-938-4747 for a free consultation.