Green Card Cost

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A green card typically costs $1,760 for applicants living in the US and $1, 200 for those outside, covering family-based immigration and government fees. A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, is a document that grants a foreign national the right to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. Green cards are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and are typically valid for 10 years. Obtaining a green card can be a complex process, and it can come with a variety of expenses.

Costs Associated with Green Card Application

The cost of obtaining a green card can vary depending on a variety of factors. Generally, the expenses can be broken down into two main categories: USCIS filing fees and other expenses.

  • USCIS Filing Fees

    When you submit your green card application to USCIS, you will need to pay a filing fee. The cost of this fee will depend on the type of green card application you are submitting. For example, as of September 2021, the filing fee for Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is $1,140 per person, while the filing fee for Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) is $535. These fees can add up quickly, especially if you are submitting multiple applications or sponsoring family members.

  • Other Expenses

    In addition to filing fees, there are several other expenses that you may need to consider when obtaining a green card. These can include:

  • Medical Examination Fees

    Before you can obtain a green card, you will need to undergo a medical examination to ensure that you are not inadmissible on health-related grounds. The cost of this examination will depend on the doctor or clinic you go to, but it can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

  • Translation and Certification Fees

    If your documents are not in English, you will need to have them translated and certified. The cost of this service can vary depending on the translator and the complexity of the documents.

  • Travel Expenses

    If you are applying for a green card from outside the United States, you will need to factor in travel expenses for yourself and any family members who are accompanying you.

  • Legal Fees

    While not required, many applicants choose to work with an immigration attorney to help them navigate the green card application process. Legal fees can vary depending on the attorney and the complexity of the case.

Green Card Filing Fees and Other Expenses

When you apply for a green card, it's important to be aware of the payment process and when fees are due. USCIS filing fees must be paid at the time you submit your application. If you are applying from within the United States, you can typically pay the fee by check or money order. If you are applying from outside the United States, you may be able to pay by credit card or electronic transfer.

Other expenses, such as legal fees and travel expenses, may be due at different times throughout the application process. It's important to work with an attorney or immigration specialist to help you understand the timeline and requirements for these expenses.

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How to Minimize Your Green Card Costs

While the cost of obtaining a green card can be high, there are several steps you can take to minimize your expenses:

  • Compare Filing Fees: The filing fees for green card applications can vary depending on the type of application and your circumstances. It's important to compare the fees for different types of applications to see if there are any cost savings that you can take advantage of.
  • Plan Ahead: By planning ahead and saving money for your green card expenses, you can reduce the financial burden of the application process. Start saving early and create a budget for your expenses.
  • Choose an Experienced Attorney: If you decide to work with an attorney, choose one with experience in green card applications. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process more efficiently and minimize the risk of mistakes or delays.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Expenses: Be careful not to spend money on unnecessary expenses, such as premium processing fees or expedited shipping costs. While these services can be helpful in some cases, they can also add unnecessary expenses to your application process.

Key Terms for Green Cards

  • Green Card Application Fees: The cost to apply for a green card.
  • Immigration Attorney Fees: The fees charged by an attorney for assistance with the green card application process.
  • Medical Examination Costs: The cost of a medical exam required for the green card application process.
  • Translation and Document Preparation Expenses: The cost of translating and preparing documents required for the green card application process.
  • Travel Expenses for Interviews: The cost of travel for interviews required for the green card application process.

Final Thoughts on Green Cards

Obtaining a green card can be a complex and expensive process. However, by understanding the costs associated with the application process and taking steps to minimize your expenses, you can make the process more manageable. Whether you choose to work with an attorney or navigate the process on your own, it's important to be aware of the financial implications of obtaining a green card. By planning ahead and being mindful of your expenses, you can achieve your goal of permanent residency in the United States.

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