Budgeting for Your American Dream: cost of green card sponsorship

cost of green card sponsorship

The cost of green card sponsorship: Obtaining a family-based green card is a dream for many and achieving it can be smoother than you might think. The government filing fee is a reasonable $1760 for those residing within the United States. Even if you live outside the United States, the cost remains quite affordable at just $1200. These fees open opportunities and possibilities for you and your loved ones.

But remember, these fees are just the beginning. In your journey towards a green card, the essential medical examination must be considered. Remember that this examination’s cost may vary depending on the provider you choose. However, when you weigh the long-term benefits of securing your family’s future in the United States, these initial expenses become a small investment in your dreams. So, take that first step and make your American dream a reality!

Crucial Update: Brace for Changes in Marriage Green Card Filing Fees in 2023 

Hold onto your plans tightly because 2023 could significantly alter the government filing fees for marriage green cards. This isn’t a mere rumor; it’s an official announcement from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In January, USCIS clarified that they’re considering substantial fee hikes for various visa application types, including marriage green cards and those adjusting their status to attain green cards. Although these proposed fee adjustments haven’t been implemented yet, it’s vital to stay informed about the potential financial changes that may affect your immigration journey.

To stay ahead of the curve and comprehensively understand the anticipated costs, be sure to delve into our USCIS fees guide. We’ll keep you updated on all developments related to the government’s proposal, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any financial adjustments on your path to obtaining a marriage green card. Don’t let these changes catch you off guard; be proactive and stay informed!

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Navigating the Costs of Obtaining Your Green Card

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of green card costs, breaking down what you’ll be shelling out both to the government, typically the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and to the physician conducting your mandatory medical examination. Understanding these expenses is vital for anyone looking to secure their green card and embark on a new chapter of life in the United States.

Green Card Costs Schedule

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the costs of obtaining your green card. This schedule highlights the mandatory government fees for green card applicants, categorizing them into two groups: those residing in the U.S. and those living abroad.

Fee Type Cost (Applicant Living in the U.S.) Cost (Applicant Living Abroad)
Family Sponsorship Form (I-130) $535 $535
Green Card Application Form (I-485) $1140 Not required
Financial Support Form (I-864) $0 $120
Work Permit Application Form (I-765) $0 Not required
Travel Permit Application Form (I-131) $0 Not required
Biometrics (Fingerprints & Photo) $85 $0
State Department Processing Not required $325
USCIS Immigrant Fee Not required $220
Medical Examination *Varies *Varies
Total $1760 $1200

This schedule provides a clear overview of the expenses you’ll encounter during your cost of green card sponsorship application process, ensuring you can plan your finances effectively and make your American dream a reality.

Indeed, here’s the information presented concisely:

  • The average medical exam cost is approximately $200, but it can vary widely between providers. You can refer to our comprehensive guide for more detailed information on preparing for the medical exam.
  • It’s important to note that government fees related to the green card application process are typically paid at different stages. These fees may be paid simultaneously for citizens living in the United States. However, for other scenarios, these fees will be paid several months apart during different stages of the green card application process.
  • To determine the specific fees you’ll need to pay for your green card application, you can use the USCIS calculator. This tool will help you calculate the total amount you’ll be required to pay.

The other potential costs

Indeed, here’s a summary of the other cost of green card sponsorship associated with the green card application process:

  1. Vaccination Fees: If your medical exam requires updating vaccinations, the costs will vary depending on the provider.
  2. Translation Services Fees: If any of your application documents are in a language other than English, you must include certified translations. Costs for certified translations, such as a one-page birth certificate, may range from $20 to $40 per document.
  3. Document Fees: Government agencies may charge fees for issuing certain official documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and passports, which you must submit as part of your application.
  4. Professional Photography Fees: You must provide two recent 2-inch-by-2-inch photographs to meet government requirements. These vary in price depending on the service provider. Many drug stores offer passport-style photos for a reasonable fee.
  5. Travel Expenses: Expenses for traveling to various appointments, including biometrics appointments, green card interviews, and medical exams, are not reimbursed by the U.S. government.
  6. Shipping Costs: You may incur nominal charges for postage and mailing your application and supporting documents at different stages of the green card application process.

Additionally, Boundless offers assistance in planning and navigating the entire application process, from completing forms to preparing for immigration interviews. They also provide flexible payment plan options to help you manage USCIS fees.

Please feel free to ask if you have further questions or need more information about any of these costs or the application process itself.

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The payment methods for green card fees

Accepted payment methods include:

  1. Credit card
  2. Debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo
  3. Prepaid debit card (Note: Only one card can be used, and sufficient funds must be available for both yourself and any accompanying family members)

Other Fees (Most Green Card Application Fees): Most fees for the green card application process are typically paid through the mail or in person. Submitting each fee as a separate payment is essential to avoid complications. Accepted payment methods may include:

  1. Credit card
  2. Debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo
  3. Prepaid debit card (with appropriate funds)

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Tips on how to save on the overall costs of the green card application process



Create a comprehensive budget that includes all anticipated expenses for your green card application. This should encompass items such as legal fees (if applicable), filing fees, process-related costs like medical exams, translation expenses (if needed), photo fees, and travel expenses to and from the embassy (for applications filed from abroad). You can use budgeting tools like Google Sheets or automated apps like Mint to track your financial goals and receive money-saving suggestions.

Compare Your Options:

  • Lawyers vs. DIY vs. Boundless: While applying for a green card can seem complex, it’s essential to consider your options:
  • Hiring an immigration attorney can be expensive, with fees typically ranging from $2,000 to $12,000. Some lawyers charge hourly rates ranging from $100 to $300. It’s crucial to assess whether the complexity of your case justifies the cost.
  • Handling the application yourself can save a substantial amount of money, but it may also be more challenging, and the rate of denial or rejection is higher for self-applicants.
  • Services like Boundless offer a middle-ground option. You can access the experience and assistance of an independent immigration lawyer while benefiting from the support and convenience of their platform. This can be a cost-effective way to navigate the process.
  • By careful budgeting and exploring your options for legal assistance, you can minimize the overall costs of obtaining a green card. Making informed choices that align with your specific situation and financial resources is essential.
  • U.S. bank account using Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment (This method requires a U.S. checking account number or routing number)

These payment methods ensure that you can pay the necessary fees for your green card application using a variety of financial instruments. If you have specific questions or concerns about payment methods or fees, you should check with the USCIS or consult a qualified immigration attorney for guidance.

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How to save on green card application costs?

Consider Application Type: Green card filing fees can vary based on the type of application and your specific circumstances. To minimize costs, compare fees across different application types and identify potential savings. For example, obtaining a green card through the CR-1 Spousal visa process may be less expensive than using the K-1 Fiancé Visa process.

Seek Translation Help: Certified translations are required for documents not in English, and professional translation services can be costly. A cost-saving option is to ask a competent friend or family member fluent in both languages to assist. This approach can significantly reduce translation expenses.

Avoid Unnecessary Expenses: Be mindful of expenditures, such as premium processing fees or expedited shipping costs. While these services may be beneficial in specific situations, they can add to your overall application expenses. Evaluate whether such services are genuinely required for your application.

By carefully considering your application type, seeking cost-effective translation assistance, and avoiding unnecessary expenses, you can effectively reduce the overall costs associated with the green card application process. Making informed decisions that align with your specific circumstances and budget is essential.

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