How Much Does A Marriage Green Card Cost?
If you are planning to apply for a marriage green card, you may be interested in finding out more about the cost. The exact amount you’ll pay for a marriage-based green card varies depending on your location. Here’s all you need to know:
Cost Of Applying For A Marriage Based Green Card In The U.S.
As of February 2021, the cost of applying for a marriage-based green card in the United States is $1760. However, it is important to note that these fees may be subject to change. Here’s a break down of the filing fee for a U.S. based applicant.
Family Sponsorship (Form I-130) | Cost: $535
Form I-130, also known as Petition for Alien Relative, is meant to establish that indeed, there is a valid relationship between you and the sponsoring spouse. Filing this form, also known as the I-130 petition, is usually the very first step in applying for a marriage green card with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The USCIS will request certain documents to prove your marriage to your spouse who is a United States citizen. The marriage certificate, for example, is one of the most important documents you need to file along with this form as the first step towards permanent residence.
Green Card Application Form (I-485) | Cost: $1,140
The I-485 is also known as the Adjustment of Status form. It proves the green card eligibility of the applicant. Along with your Form I-485 application, you will also need to submit proof that you entered into the U.S. legally with a valid visa.
Read more: Form I-485 Processing Time
To support your claims, you may need to provide your I-94, which reveals your travel record. As the individual seeking to register permanent residence in the U.S., you will also be required to prove your nationality by providing a copy of your birth certificate or foreign passport.
Your U.S. citizen spouse should also provide proof that they are capable of sponsoring you financially. This proof may include federal tax returns, pay stubs, or any other relevant financial statements.
The spouse seeking the green card must also include a medical examination report performed by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services-approved doctor. Medical examination costs can vary between $100-$400, depending on the service provider.
In most cases, if the foreign spouse is already living in the United States, they may file Form I-130 and Form I-485 together, in what is known as concurrent filing.
Biometrics Appointment | Cost: $85
The purpose of the biometrics appointment is to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) check your criminal record if any. At the appointment, your fingerprints and photos will be taken and sent to the FBI for further verification. This appointment usually takes less than 20 minutes but is an important part of your marriage-based green card application journey.
A biometrics appointment is not a green card interview; you will not be asked questions about your desire to adjust status. Most of the time, the people who take your fingerprints and photos do not have an idea about your marriage green card application. These are usually contractors working for different government agencies.
In some cases, the beneficiary may apply for employment authorization, also known as a work permit, a document that allows them to work in the U.S. as they await the results of their petition.
When you add the cost of filing Form I-130, Form I-485, and the biometrics appointment fee, they total up to $1760, which is the cost of filing for a marriage green card for applicants living in the United States.
To recap, here’s a summary of the cost of applying for this type of green card from within the U.S.;
- Family Sponsorship (Form I-130) – Cost: $535
- Green Card Application (Form I-485) – Cost: $1,140
- Biometrics Appointment – Cost: $85
- Total – $1760
Applying For A Marriage Green Card Outside The United States
If you live outside the United States and you wish to apply for a marriage green card, the cost and procedure are quite different. Speaking of the cost, as of February 2021, you will pay $1,200 for this type of green card for applicants living abroad. Here is a break down of the total government filing fees:
Family Sponsorship Form (I-130) | Cost: $535
As is the case with applicants living in the United States, you are required to file Form I-130 if you are applying for a green card from outside the country. This form has the same requirements regardless of your location as the applicant. You must prove that your marriage to your spouse actually exists by submitting a marriage certificate along with other relevant documents as evidence of its existence.
Affidavit Of Support (Form I-864) | Cost $120
This form is filed by a U.S. citizen who is marrying a foreign spouse. It pledges financial support for the foreign spouse when they apply for a green card after the marriage. The person signing this form is often referred to as the ‘financial sponsor’ of the green card applicant.
This is a legally binding contract and lasts until when the applicant becomes a citizen of the United States or is credited with 40 quarters of work. In some cases, a joint sponsor may be involved in the contract.
A joint sponsor, according to the Immigration Services (USCIS), is a person who is willing to accept the legal responsibility of supporting the green card applicant with you. However, the joint sponsor does not have to be related to the immigrant.
State Department Processing Fee | Cost $325
When applying for a green card from outside the United States, you will be required to file a DS-260 form online. This form is then processed by the National Visa Center and the local U.S. embassy or consulate. The $325 is paid as a processing fee for the immigrant visa application.
USCIS Immigrant Fee | Cost $220
This fee is paid to process your immigrant visa packet, including your Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card. It is important to note that the fee must only be paid online.
The U.S. embassy or consulate in your country will give you your A-Number, DOS Case ID, Immigrant Data Summary, a sealed immigrant data packet, and instructions for paying the USCIS immigrant fee.
Here’s a summary of the filing fee for marriage green card applications from outside the United States:
- Family Sponsorship Immigration Form (I-130) – Cost: $535
- Affidavit Of Support Immigration Form (I-864) – Cost $120
- USCIS Immigrant Fee – Cost $220
- State Department Processing Fee – Cost $325
- Total: $1200
It is worth noting that the above-mentioned costs are strictly government fees; they do not cover vaccination fees, airplane tickets, attorney fees, or other personal expenses.
However, even though you may have to pay a consultation services fee, it is always a good idea to seek an immigration attorney review for legal advice prior to submitting your petition. An immigration lawyer from a good law firm knows the ins and outs of US immigration laws, which could help you avoid a lot of pitfalls.
Read more: Marriage Green Card vs. Fiancé Visa
Calculating Filing Fees For USCIS Forms
Given that government fees for different immigration forms are subject to change, it is always important to know how to check the most current fee structure prior to submitting your green card application. This helps avoid unnecessary delays because the USCIS, and many other government agencies, do not accept applications that have not been paid in full.
For this reason, the USCIS has a Fees Calculator tool on their website that you may use to stay updated with the most current filing fees and related information. To use this tool, all you need is the number of the form you want to file (Form I-130 for example). When you enter the form number into the calculator tool, you will see the most recent fee, including payment instructions.