B and I have been together for over 5 years now. However, prior to us getting married, we were in a long distance relationship. I lived in Canada and he lived across the border. After a little over a year of dating, B proposed to me and (of course) I said YES! We only started the immigration process after I graduated from college. Boy, we didn’t realize how long and costly it would be!
Since I was his fiancé, we went through the K-1 Fiancé visa process. Once granted, we had 90 days to marry upon my entry in the United States, which we did fulfill. Afterwards, we needed to file for adjustment of status to permanent resident and file to get a temporary green card while we we waiting.
Here is our immigration timeline:
How much it cost (so far): $1,675 USD
- Form I-129F (filed with USCIS): $340
- K1 Visa (paid to Consulate): $265
- Form I-485 + I-765 (filed with USCIS): $1,070
Other Miscellaneous costs: $392 USD
- Medical Exam (+ Vaccinations): 315$
- Passport-style pictures (x6): 27$
- Sending forms to USCIS via USPS (x2): 40$
- Developing pictures for proof of relationship: 10$
TOTAL COST: $2,067 USD
* This does not include travel costs (mine was about +300$ CAD).
There are more fees after permanent residency is granted. Like any family-based visa (spouse or fiancé), you are granted a 2 year conditional green card.
We will have to remove that condition with Form I-751 “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence” — with a filing fee of 590$. You can see how fees are never ending when it comes to legally immigrating to the U.S.
2 TIPS TO SAVE MONEY:
1. DO NOT hire an attorney to do what is basically administrative work.
Unless you are rolling in dough or you are simply lazy, a lawyer is not necessary. You can save thousands of dollars and do all the paperwork yourself. It doesn’t require any prior legal knowledge. All you need to do is follow the instructions.
** The only reason you would need a lawyer is if you have issues that would complicate your case (ex. overstaying, felonies) **
2. Review, review, review your paperwork. Make a checklist, if necessary.
I don’t know how many times I looked at our paperwork to make sure everything is there, all the forms have been signed, etc.I heard so many people getting “Request for Evidence (RFE)” for missing information or evidence.
A 5-10 minute checklist could save you the extra bucks of resending forms and the extra delays in your case.
To conclude, this gives you a picture of the high cost of immigrating to the U.S. Time should also be emphasized here because the beneficiary could be spending a year without working, so potential loss of income should also be calculated.
I hope you will follow my advices.