How Much Will It Cost to Get a U.S. Green Card?

Between the government application fees, legal fees, and associated expenses, applying to immigrate to the United States can be a costly endeavor.

By , J.D. · University of Washington School of Law

If you are an immigrant or a foreign national who seeks to get a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence), there are many costs involved. These include application fees paid directly to U.S. immigration authorities (the U.S. State Department (DOS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, known as USCIS), and related fees; for example to get photos done, to pay for the required medical exam, and other incidentals such as photocopying and mailing.

The exact fees depend on what type of green card you're applying for (family-based, employment-based, or some other type) and on whether you're applying within the United States, using a process called Adjustment of Status, or applying from overseas, using a process called Consular Processing.

We'll try to give a more complete picture of the amounts involved here.

Important caution: When we discuss government application fees, we're referring to those paid to U.S. immigration authorities at the time you file a petition or application. You should never pay a fee to simply obtain copies of immigration forms, which are free online at the USCIS website, Don't be taken in by websites that attempt to sell you immigration forms.

U.S. Government Fee to File Initial Visa Petition on Behalf of an Immigrant

One fee obligation faced by immigrants in most every green card category is for the first form that must be filed by a person or employer in the U.S., called a petition. Its purpose is to establish the would-be immigrant's basic eligibility, for example a family relationship or an offer of employment.

The petition is ordinarily done on either:

  • Form I-130 in family-based cases: fee for paper filing is $675; for online filing is $625.
  • Form I-360 (instead of I-130, typically filed as a self-petition): fee of $515, though with many exemptions in humanitarian categories. For instance, VAWA applicants where the would-be U.S. petitioner is abusive, special immigrant juveniles (SIJS), Iraqi and Afghan translators, and members of U.S. military need not pay the I-360 fee.
  • Form I-129F in fiancé cases: fee of $675.
  • Form I-140 in employment-based cases: base fee of $715 plus add-on Asylum Program fee of $600 for large employers, $300 for smaller employers, and $0 for nonprofit organizations.
  • Form I-526 petition for investors: fee of $11,160. (That's not a typo. It costs over eleven thousand U.S. dollars to file this petition.)

USCIS raises its fees fairly regularly. To find the latest amounts for the various immigration forms, go to its Filing Fees page or to

If it's any comfort, the visa petition is in most cases submitted not by the immigrant, but rather by the U.S. petitioner. So, technically speaking, that person or employer will pay the fee, not the immigrant. But the visa petition is just the beginning of the process and associated costs.

Subsequent Government Processing Fees for Immigrant Visa and Green Card

As mentioned, the application fee amounts after the initial petition is approved depend on various factors, most notably whether you're adjusting status or going through consular processing.

The primary form for adjusting status is USCIS Form I-485, the fee for which is in most cases $1,440 as of April 1, 2024 (with downward adjustments for children filing with their parents). In general, adjusting status tends to be more expensive than consular processing.

If you're consular processing, the best way to figure out the fees is on the State Department website Fees for Visa Services page. Scroll down to the section on "Immigrant Visa Processing Fees." Family visa processing, for example, is $325 in 2024, while the fee for employment-based visas is $345.

Miscellaneous Immigration-Related Fees

The various fees to obtain materials or perform tasks to support your immigration application can add up, too. These are likely to include around $20 to have professional, passport-style photographs taken of the immigrant and in some cases, the U.S. petitioner; around $35 for mailing and courier services; and around $200 for the required medical exam, plus additional amounts if you need to have vaccinations done.

And if you need to have documents translated into English by a professional, expect to pay $200 or more. (It is possible to have translations done by a non-professional, such as a friend or family member, but given the high stakes, do make sure that person is truly qualified.)

Travel Expenses for Immigration-Related Appointments

Don't forget to add in potentially many hundreds of dollars in plane fares or other transportation, hotels, and other travel expenses, particularly if you live far from the U.S. consulate or USCIS office where you'll need to attend your visa or green card interview. (These are usually in major cities in the United States and abroad.)

Fees for Legal Help

You might wish to have a lawyer assist you with completing all of the paperwork and helping you make decisions, for example in choosing between adjusting status and consular processing. (That assumes you have a choice; of course; many people have no option other than consular processing.)

The lawyer, too, will charge a fee, most often a flat fee of several thousand dollars, though some charge on an hourly basis. It's often money well spent, give that the stakes are high and you could waste a lot of your own time dealing with a difficult government bureaucracy. See Is an Immigration Lawyer Worth the Cost?.

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