The True Green Card Cost: What You Need to Know

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The Green Card is a crucial document for an immigrant or a foreign national who seeks to live and work permanently in the United States. It provides proof of an individual’s permanent residency status in the United States. The Green card cost varies depending on the type of application, whether it is family-based, employment-based, or a special category such as refugees or asylees. However, obtaining a Green Card can be an expensive and complex process.

Firstly, it is essential to understand the different ways to obtain a Green Card. The fee varies if you process through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. There are also various fees associated with the application process that are set by the USCIS, the government agency responsible for administering immigration services.

In this article, we’ll discuss the various costs associated with obtaining a green card.

How Much Does a Green Card Cost?

The cost of applying for a Green Card varies depending on several factors, such as the applicant’s immigration status, age, location, and the type of Green Card they are seeking.

See Also: The Complete Requirements Needed to Apply for a Green Card.

To obtain a family-based Green Card, an applicant living in the United States is required to pay a government filing fee of $1760, while an applicant living outside the United States is charged $1200.

For those seeking a green card through employment sponsorship, the cost can be quite substantial. The employer is responsible for filing the initial application and paying the filing fee, which can range from $700 to $1,500 depending on the type of green card being sought. The employer may also need to pay for the cost of labor certification, which can cost up to $7,000.

In addition to the employer’s costs, the employee may also need to pay for the cost of legal representation. The legal fees associated with obtaining a green card can vary depending on the complexity of the case, but they can easily range from $5,000 to $15,000 or more.

It is important to note that this fee does not cover the cost of a medical examination, which is typically required and varies depending on the provider. The cost is higher if the beneficiary is a parent or sibling of the sponsor.

You must pay the fee either by check or money order directly to the government. The following table has the breakdown of the costs. The forms to be used and the cost depends on each case status.

Fee TypeIf living in the U.S.If living Outside the U.S.
Form I-130 (Family Sponsorship)$ 535$ 535
Form I-485 (Green Card Application)$ 1140NA
Form I-864 (Financial Support)$ 0$ 120
Form I-765 (Work Permit Application Form) – Optional$ 0NA
Form I-131 (Travel Permit Application Form) – Optional$ 0NA
Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e))$ 535NA
Biometrics – For Your Photo and Fingerprints$ 85$ 0
State Department ProcessingNA$ 325
USCIS Immigrant FeeNA$ 220
Medical Examination Fee$ 200 (Depends on provider)$ 200 (Depends on provider)

Apart from the above fee details,

  • Form I–140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) – costs $700
  • Form I–360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant – costs $435 
  • Form I–526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur – costs $3,675
  • Form I–600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition – costs $775
  • Form I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country – costs $775

What are Other Costs Associated with Green Cards?

The following are the other cost for a green card you need to pay:

Vaccination Fees

If your medical examination requires you to update your vaccinations, you may have to do so before receiving the completed medical examination report. The cost of vaccinations will depend on the provider and is separate from the medical exam fees.

Translation Services Fees

If you use any documents in other language (except English) in your green card application package, you must translate that particular document to English. To do this you must pay a range between $20 and $40 for translator.

Document Fees

To apply for a Green Card, you need to provide digital copies of your passport, marriage certificate, and birth certificate. It is also required to bring the original copies of these documents with you when attending the Green Card interview, regardless of whether you submitted your application in the United States or abroad. You need to pay for these documents as a charge for the government agencies.

Professional Photography Fees

You need submit two recent 2-inch-by-2-inch photographs, if the government ask to submit to verify your identity. If you use professional photography you need to pay for their service.

Travel Expenses

You may need to travel to different locations to attend the biometrics appointment, taking medical examination, to attend the green card interview. For these kind of travel you need to spend your money. This will not reimburse from government side.

Shipping Costs

You need to mail your green card application packages, supporting documents if required by USCIS. For this postage and mailing you have to pay the fee by your own.

Attorney Fees

Attorney fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the case and the attorney you choose. Contact us today if you need help our lawyer consultation support for your green card.

How to Reduce the Green Card Cost?

It is important to note that there are various ways to reduce the cost of obtaining a Green Card.

  1. One way is to carefully review and complete all the required forms and documents accurately. Any mistakes or omissions can result in additional fees and delays in the process. It is also recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the process and ensure that all requirements are met.
  2. Another way to reduce the cost of obtaining a Green Card is to explore alternative options. For example, individuals may consider applying for a temporary work visa, such as an H-1B visa, which can lead to a Green Card in the future.
  3. Other types of visas that may be more affordable, such as the F-1 student visa or the J-1 exchange visitor visa. These visas allow individuals to study or work in the US for a limited period and may also lead to a Green Card in the future.
  4. Applicants who simply can’t afford the green card application fee can also receive assistance to remove the financial burden through a fee waiver process. These fee waiver forms, which include Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, and Form I-912P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Fee Waiver Requests from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Applicants can request a fee waiver under certain conditions, which includes means testing’s of income relative to requested benefits, or household income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time of filing or financial hardship.

How to Pay the Green Card Fees?

You can pay your immigrant fee online to USCIS, but most of the payments are made through the mail or in person. By using the following methods you can pay your application fee to the USCIS:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo
  • Prepaid debit card
  • US bank account. 


Obtaining a green card is a significant step towards achieving permanent residency in the United States, but it is also a process that can be quite costly. Sometimes USCIS will increase fees irrespective of all forms. Don’t delay in applying for Green Card to stay and work in the United States.

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