Want to know how much does it cost to petition a relative? Find the filing fees, total cost of petitioning a relative (in the U.S. and abroad) in SelfLawyer’s comprehensive 2021 guide.
The minimum cost to petition a relative is $1,400-$1,900 per immigrant.
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is the form that a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident submits to USCIS to sponsor a qualified relative for permanent residence in the United States.
Filing the Form I-130 is the first step towards starting the process of family-based immigration to the United States.
The costs associated with filing an I-130 petition will vary depending on how many relatives you want to sponsor and their location (in the U.S. or abroad).
Additional fees might apply if the foreign-born relative is already in the U.S. and eligible to apply for adjustment of status at the same time.
The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535. The filing fee for this petition cannot be waived.
NOTE: The filing fee is not refundable, regardless of any action USCIS takes on this petition.
You must submit all fees in the exact amounts.
USCIS accepts money orders, cashier’s checks and personal checks payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
When filing at USCIS lockbox facilities you can pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
For more details on forms of payment visit each form’s official USCIS page, “Filing Fee” section.
Always check the USCIS Web page for Form I-130 to confirm the fee before you file.
You can also find out the current filing fee by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
If you are sponsoring more than one family member, you will have to file a separate I-130 petition and filing fee for each of these family members.
Classification of Relatives for Family Based Immigration
All family-based immigrants fall into one of two major categories:
The following immigrants are considered “immediate relatives”:
- spouse of a U.S. citizen;
- unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or
- parent of a U.S. citizen.
All other qualified relationships are considered family preference categories.
Your relative’s place in line to obtain a green card will depend upon the date you file your petition.
So there is always an advantage to filing as soon as possible.
There is no waiting period for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.
Under the law, each person who immigrates based on a relative’s petition must have a financial sponsor.
If you do not meet the minimum income requirements, other individuals will then need to become joint sponsors. Check out our Affidavit of Support Guide for this.
How Much Does it Cost to Petition a Relative Living in the U.S.
If the relative you are sponsoring is currently living in the U.S. and has entered the country lawfully, he or she can file the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to apply for a Green Card without leaving the country.
This process is called “adjustment of status.”
Below you can find the costs of petitioning a relative living in the U.S.:
|Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative||$535|
|*Form I-485, Adjustment of Status||$1,140|
|Biometrics (Fingerprints and Photo)||$85|
|Form I-693, Immigration Medical Exam||$0|
|Medical Tests||$100-$300; Average: $200|
Note: The fee break-out and the different sections mentioned in the table above, are only the mandatory costs required by USCIS.
You can have additional expenses, such as: attorney fees, translation fees, postage, copying, etc.
*While filing the Form I-485, Adjustment of Status, the USCIS doesn’t charge the same filing fee for immediate relatives of all age groups.
The fee structure for filing fee as decided by USCIS for different age groups are illustrated below.
|Age||Form Fee||Biometrics Fee||Total|
|Under 14 and filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent||$750||$0||$750|
|Under 14 and not filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent||$1,140||$1,140||$1,140|
|Age 79 or older||$1,140||$0||$1,140|
|Filing Form I-485 based on having been admitted to the United States as a refugee|
How Much Does it Cost to Petition a Relative Living Abroad
There are two different methods of applying for a family based green card:
- ‘Adjustment of Status’ method, and
- Consular processing method.
Consular processing is the only method available to applicants who are not physically present in the United States.
It means that a person intending to immigrate to the United States, will have an interview at a U.S. embassy or a consulate in his or her home country, to complete the application for a family-based green card.
Step 1. If the immigrating relative lives in a foreign country, you need to file an I-130 petition with USCIS.
Step 2. After Form I-130 is approved, the National Visa Center will notify the Petitioner that a visa is about to become available.
Step 3. For the procedure of consular processing, the applicant will need to submit the Form DS-260, Immigration Visa Application.
The U.S. petitioner will also have to submit the Form I-864, or Affidavit of Support, ensuring the USCIS that he/she will be able to financially support the relative(s) in the U.S.
The table illustrated below outlines consular processing costs for family based green card application:
|Immigration form||Filing Fee|
|Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative||$535|
|Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application||$325|
|Form I-864, Affidavit of Support||$120|
|Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record||$0|
|USCIS Immigrant Fee||$220|
|*Medical Examination Fee||$200 (average fee)|
*Even though there is no fee charged for filing Form I-693, the cost of the medical exams will vary by doctor and country.
The medical examination fee varies from $100 to $500 but $200 is typical.
There are other costs too, associated with consular processing.
For your assurance and basic idea, you can use this fee calculator provided by USCIS, to help you determine all expenses.
Other Fees to Keep in Mind
Apart from the government fees and medical exam fees, you can expect to have other additional fees:
- Vaccination Fees: If your medical exam requires you to have vaccinations, update it before filing your complete medical report.
- Documents Translation Fee: If in your application package, you’ve added any document(s) not in English, you’ll have to attach the translated copy of each of these document(s) as approved by the translator. For instance, a single page birth-certificate translated document varies between $20-$40.
- Document Fee: Government agencies generally charge fees for issuing certain official documents.
- Travel Expenses: To travel for different purposes like a green card interview, or medical exam, or biometrics, the USCIS won’t reimburse you for travel charges incurred.
- Shipping Costs: If you live abroad, or even in the U.S., you’ll have to send the document packages and supporting documents to different locations, paying a nominal shipping and postal charges.