US citizens planning to apply for a marriage-based green card on behalf of a future spouse must be aware of the costs involved in the process. In this article, you will have an overview of the application costs for marriage-based green cards.
Applying for a Marriage-Based Green Card in the US – The Basics
To bring a foreign spouse to the United States, the petitioner must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The first step to applying for a green card through marriage is filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for processing all family-based visa petitions. If the foreign spouse is already living in the United States, the petitioner must also file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status).
If the foreign spouse is living abroad during the application process, USCIS will forward an approved petition for consular processing. Once the petition arrives at a US Embassy or Consulate located in the spouse’s country, they will provide notification and processing information.
Applying for a marriage-based visa requires several supporting documents, including:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (with a filing fee)
- A copy of the couple’s civil marriage certificate
- A copy of documents that demonstrate that all previous marriages entered by one of the petitioners were terminated (if applicable)
- Passport style photos of each petitioner
- Evidence of all legal name changes for each of the petitioners (if applicable)
If the petitioner is a US citizen, he or she must submit proof of status such as a copy of a valid US passport, a copy of a US birth certificate, a copy of a naturalization certificate, or a copy of a certificate of citizenship.
For lawful permanent residents, it is possible to submit a copy of Form I-551 (green card) or a copy of the petitioner’s foreign passport with evidence of permanent residence in the United States (e.g., an official stamp).
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Green Card Through Marriage?
The total cost to get a marriage green card in the United States depends on whether the foreign spouse is living within the United States or abroad while the application is processing.
For foreign spouses who already live in the United States, the petitioner must file Form I-130 with a $535 filing fee.
When filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), the petitioner must pay a $1,140 filing fee plus $85 for the biometrics appointment, resulting in $1760 per application.
For foreign spouses living outside the United States, the petitioner must also file Form I-130 with a $535 filing fee. In such cases, the petitioner must file an affidavit of support (Form I-864) with a $120 fee.
The affidavit of support is a legally binding document by which the petitioner pledges financial support for the foreign spouse.
After filing the DS-260 form online, applicants living abroad must pay a $325 State Department processing fee. The final fee is a $220 USCIS immigrant fee required to process the applicant’s visa packet, resulting in $1200 per application.
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