How Much Does It Cost to Get a Green Card Through a K1 Visa?
Updated on 11/02/2020
If you are engaged to a foreigner and plan to bring him or her to the United States, you might be wondering how much the whole process will cost from K1 visa to green card. The short answer is that the price will be a lot higher than the price of the plane ticket for your bride or groom to travel to the United States for the wedding.
First things first, you will need to know how much is a K1 visa. Then there are several other steps towards gaining the green card for your spouse, including the price of the filing fees for the forms. With so many varying costs on the road from a K1 nonimmigrant visa to immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, it can be advantageous to research the dollar amounts ahead of time, so that you can plan for the payments in advance.
1. USCIS Form I-129F Filing Fee
The initial step in the process of going from a K1 visa toward a green card is to fill out the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, and send it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The cost to file a Form I-129F with the USCIS is $535. A United States citizen (USC) will need to serve as the petitioner on Form I-129F, and their fiancé will be the beneficiary if they are granted the opportunity to obtain a K1 visa.
The Form I-129F should be accompanied by evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Other items will be necessary in the I-129F package to show that the USC and their alien fiancé met in person sometime during the past two years, that they are free to legally marry, and that they intend to have their wedding within 90 days of K1 fiancé’s entry to the United States.
Not sure if you are eligible to file an I-129F petition for your fiancé? You can free check eligibility through DYgreencard without providing any personal information. When you are ready to file the petition, we may help you prepare an application package fully reviewed by a skilled immigration lawyer. Learn more about what we can for you.
2. How much is a K1 visa?
Once the engaged couple hears back from the USCIS that their Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, was approved, they need to arrange to get the K1 visa. This second step on the journey toward a spousal green card is the Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, which is filed by the foreign fiancé, rather than the United States citizen. Fortunately, at this stage, the application can be filed electronically.
The reason that the alien fiancé must now file the DS-160 form is that the case will now be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of State. Hence the name of the form beginning with the letters, DS. The filing fee for this non-USCIS, Department of State form is currently $265. Granted, the price for the K1 visa is only for the fiancé, so if the bride or groom is bringing their children, the cost will be higher.
Further, it is important that the alien fiancé remembers to print out the confirmation page of the complete Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application so that they can bring it with them to their K1 fiancé visa interview with an U.S. consulate officer.
3. Price of a Medical Exam
The price of the medical exam, which is also a requirement for the K1 visa, varies. The cost may depend on the location of the foreign fiancé and the fees a particular doctor charges, but generally the amount is between $200 and $500. Actually, the foreign fiancé should have another medical exam after he or she arrives in the U.S. and apply for a green card based on K1 visa. It will cost additional $200 ~$500.
The purpose of such exams is partially to ensure that the alien fiancé has been properly immunized and is not carrying a harmful, communicable disease. You may have a clear picture about an immigration medical exam in our article What to Expect at an Immigration Medical Exam?
4. Fees for an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status
After the wedding, the K1 visa holder will need to adjust their status from a nonimmigrant visa to a green card. Unfortunately, this means further expenses. The filing fee for the USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is $1,140 for persons over the age of 14.
Additionally, there is a charge of $85 for biometrics services if the foreign spouse is between the ages of 14 and 78 years young. These costs change periodically, so it is prudent to check the USCIS’s website before writing a check to the Department of Homeland Security.
5. Miscellaneous Costs
Of course, if you pay an expensive immigration attorney to work on the entire process for you, the price would go up by thousands. Even if you complete all of the petitions yourself, you will need to consider the costs of printing out the paper forms, the postage and envelope to mail the items to the USCIS, and even the price of gas or a train ticket to get to the USCIS during the I-485 application stage. In addition, your fiancé needs to appear on the K1 visa interview at the U.S. consulate. As such, he or she needs to prepare the fund to get there.
6. The Approximate Grand Total
The grand total of the cost to get a green card through a K1 visa is on a range, and it can only be approximated. The final price could be anywhere from $2,075 to closer to $3,000. Of course, the total amount goes up if the alien fiancé is bringing their children to the United States.
Although some of the fees are cheaper for young children, and biometrics might not be necessary for the littler kids, the cost of forming a blended American family could be much higher than it is for a new family of two. Luckily, for the USCIS forms the filing fee can be paid using a credit card by submitting Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.