How Much Does a Green Card Cost?
Government fees and other common expenses for green card applications
How much does it cost to get a green card?
The government filing fees for getting a family-based green card is $1760 for an applicant living in the United States or $1200 for an applicant living outside the United States. This does not include the typical cost of the required medical examination, which varies by provider.
Important Update: Green Card Costs Will Increase April 1, 2024
On January 31, 2024, USCIS confirmed that filing fees for various immigration forms will increase on April 1, 2024. Costs will go up for nearly every visa category, including green cards. A standalone green card application, Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), will go up from $1,225 to $1,440, in addition to other increased filing fees. To calculate your 2024 green card costs, check out Boundless’ guide.
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The following chart breaks down both the fees you must pay directly to the government — in most cases, that’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), unless otherwise noted — and to the physician who performs the required medical exam. Learn more about green cards.
Green Card Costs
|Mandatory Government Fees for Green Cards
|Cost (to Applicant Living in the U.S.)
|Cost (to Applicant Living Abroad)
|Family Sponsorship Form (I-130)
|Green Card Application Form (I-485)
|Financial Support Form (I-864)
|Work Permit Application Form (I-765) (optional)
|Travel Permit Application Form (I-131) (optional)
|Biometrics (Fingerprints & Photo)
|State Department Processing
|USCIS Immigrant Fee
*The most common cost for a medical exam is around $200, but this amount can vary significantly by provider. Boundless customers have reported prices ranging from $100 to $500. Our detailed guide to preparing for the medical exam has more information.
Also note that these government fees are only paid at the same time if you are the spouse or immediate relative of a U.S. citizen and living in the United States. For other scenarios, these fees will be paid several months apart, during different stages of the green card application process.
You can use this calculator from USCIS to help you determine how much you’ll need to pay.
Other Potential Costs
Beyond direct government fees and the medical exam fee, there are other green card application costs to keep in mind:
Vaccination fees: Should your medical exam require it, you may need to update your vaccinations before receiving your completed medical examination report. Like medical exam fees, vaccination costs will vary by provider.
Translation services fees: If your green card application package includes any documents in a language other than English, you must also include a translation of each document, certified as accurate by the translator. The cost of these services will vary — for example, a certified translation of a one-page birth certificate might range between $20 and $40.
Document fees: As part of the green card application process, you will be asked to submit digital or physical copies of supporting documents, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, and passport. You and your spouse will also need to bring the original copies when attending your final green card interview (either in the United States or at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad). Government agencies generally charge fees for issuing certain official documents.
Professional photography fees: To verify your identity and conduct background checks, the U.S. government will ask you to submit two recent 2-inch-by-2-inch photographs, which will vary in price by service provider. Although you are allowed to take your own photos, it’s generally a good idea to use a professional photography service, and many drug stores provide passport-style photos for a relatively low fee.
Travel expenses: When you attend your biometrics appointment, green card interview, and medical exam, the U.S. government will not reimburse you for the expenses you incur when traveling to these locations. The same is true if you must travel to various government agencies to obtain official documents.
Shipping costs: At different stages of the green card application process, you will pay nominal charges for postage and mailing of your application and supporting documents.
Boundless can help you plan for every step of the process, from forms to your immigration interview. We’ll even help you pay your USCIS fees over time with our flexible payment plan options. Get started today!
Payment Methods for Green Card Fees
When it comes to paying your green card fees, here are the available methods:
- USCIS Immigrant Fee: This fee is paid online through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Accepted payment methods include:
- Credit card
- Debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo
- Prepaid debit card (only one card can be used, and sufficient funds must be available for both yourself and any accompanying family members)
- Other Fees: Most fees for the green card application process are typically paid through the mail or in person. It’s important to note that each fee should be submitted as a separate payment to avoid complications. Accepted payment methods may include:
- Credit card
- Debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo
- Prepaid debit card (with appropriate funds)
- US bank account using Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment (requires a US checking account number or routing number)
Learn more about how to pay filing fees on USCIS’ website.
Boundless can help you avoid common pitfalls in paying your immigration fees when you choose to pay your USCIS fees over time. Learn more.
How To Save on Green Card Costs
On top of the fees listed in this article, there are additional costs involved in starting a new life in a different country, such as travel expenses, shipping fees, and more. The list below offers a few ways to save on the overall green card process.
Prepare in advance by cataloging all anticipated expenses related to your green card application. Create a budget that encompasses these costs to reduce uncertainty throughout the process. Consider including items such as legal help fees (if applicable), filing fees, process-related fees (e.g., medical exams), translation costs (if needed), photo fees, and travel expenses to and from the embassy (for applications filed from abroad). Utilize budgeting tools like Google Sheets or automated apps like Mint to track your financial goals and receive money-saving suggestions.
Lawyers vs. DIY vs. Boundless
- While applying for a permanent resident card can be daunting, hiring an attorney can significantly contribute to your expenses. Traditional Immigration lawyers charge between $2,000 and $12,000, with hourly rates ranging from $100 to $300.
- You could handle the application yourself, saving a substantial amount of money. However, the rate of denial or rejection tends to be higher for those who apply on their own.
- Boundless offers the best of both worlds. Get the experience and assistance of an independent immigration lawyer with the support and convenience of our award-winning platform.
The filing fees for green card applications vary based on the type of application and your specific circumstances. To minimize costs, it’s essential to compare fees across different application types and identify potential cost savings. For example, obtaining a green card through the K-1 Fiancé Visa process will be more expensive, than getting a green card through the CR-1 Spousal visa process.
Seek translation help from friends:
To translate documents not in English, certified translations are required. However, hiring a professional translation service can be expensive. A cost-saving alternative is seeking assistance from a competent friend or family member who is fluent in both languages. They can provide a statement confirming their language proficiency, accurate translation, and include their name, address, signature, and date. This approach can significantly reduce translation expenses.
Avoid Unnecessary Expenses:
Be mindful of avoiding unnecessary expenditures, such as premium processing fees or expedited shipping costs. While these services may be beneficial in certain situations, they can also inflate your overall application expenses.
Learn About Fee Waivers:
USCIS offers fee waivers to some low-income immigrants and exemptions based on humanitarian grounds, such as refugees, asylum-seekers, and victims of domestic violence.
Discounted applications for immigration benefits are available to households earning below 150% of the federal poverty line.