What Is the Cost of a Marriage Green Card?

Getting a green card through marriage will cost time and money. The actual dollar amount you have to pay will depend on your filing category and whether or not both spouses live in the United States. Your filing category will also affect the timeframe of your green card application.

For example, there is a total of about $1,760 government filing fees for a stateside green card petitioner. A green card petitioner who lives abroad only pays around $1,200 but will experience a longer processing time. Additional fees or waivers may apply.

closeup of permanent resident card
A closeup of a permanent resident card. A marriage green card could set you back $1,200 or more.

Filing Fees for a Marriage Green Card 

When applying for permanent residency through marriage, you will have to pay filing fees for some government forms but not others. Your cost to file will depend on your immigration category. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers a free calculator tool for petitioners to assess their expenses.

Marriage green card petitioners residing in the United States will need to submit the following forms:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: $535 
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence: $1,140
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support: $0
  • Biometrics, Photograph and fingerprint collection: $85

Petitioners living abroad when applying for a green card must file:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: $535 
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support: $120
  • State Department Processing: $325
  • Biometrics, Photograph and fingerprint collection: $0
  • USCIS immigrant fee: $220

Green card applicants living in the U.S. or elsewhere will also need to have a medical examination performed by a USCIS-approved doctor. That expense will vary by provider and insurance coverage. If the petitioning spouse is not up to date on vaccinations, that may raise the cost of the medical exam.

Additional Expenses to Consider

Apart from government filing fees and obvious green card application costs, petitioners will likely encounter unforeseen expenditures. Planning ahead can give you a better idea of how much applying for a marriage green card will set you back.

Replacing and Mailing Documents

Each step of the green card application process requires supporting documents. If you don’t have important documents, such as your original birth certificate or a certified copy, you may need to replace your vital records. Replacing a birth certificate can cost anywhere from $9 to $34 plus shipping fees.

You also need to pay for postage to mail copies of these documents along with your green card application. Bring the originals with you to your USCIS interview.

Taking a Green Card Photo

A green card is a government-issued photo ID. You will be required to submit two passport-style pictures with your application. You may take and print your own photos. 

However, it’s highly recommended that you rely on a professional photo service to ensure your photos are acceptable. You can have your photo taken at the post office, pharmacy, or local club store. The cost ranges from $5-$15.

Language Translation

Every document in your green card application that isn’t in English originally will require a certified translation. Translation fees will vary depending on document length and the service you use. Translating a birth certificate, for example, can cost as high as $70.

Attorney Fees

Petitioning for a marriage green card is a complicated process that can take years. Making mistakes can cause expensive setbacks. To undo detrimental mistakes, you may need legal assistance.

Immigration lawyers can charge as much as $300 for an initial consultation and $1,000-$7,500 to help you through the green card application process. Using a professional immigration filing service can save you time and expense by checking for errors before you submit your green card application.

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