The Cost of Immigrating to the U.S

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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:

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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$


* 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.


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.

Elle ❤

5 thoughts on “The Cost of Immigrating to the U.S”

  1. Hey Elle, what an interesting blog you have! We are about to submit my spousal visa application to Australia and it has been a lot of work. We have definitely reviewed our paper work quite a few times and now I’m trying to put everything in order. So good advice!

    I find it interesting how the cost of spousal visas varies from country to country. My husband’s spousal visa to Finland cost him altogether 200$ CAD (cheap eh) whereas my spousal visa to Australia costs closer to 7500$ CAD! Australia must be one of the most expensive countries to emigrate as a spouse!


      1. It is super expensive so that’s why we are planning ahead for the visa. I think it will be worth it for us, most of the time in order to secure a job in Finland you have to be fluent in Finnish. My husband does speak Finnish, but the level of Finnish required in his field of study is very high. Finnish is one of the hardest languages to learn and it takes long time to grasp the language.


  2. This is very interesting. I helped some friends immigrate to the US and the main hold-up was that the US immigration service couldn’t read their birth and marriage certificates even though one of the five languages on the documents was English. When they wrote for a translation I simply highlighted the English and wrote a covering letter saying that the highlighted words are in English. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! My birth certificate is bilingual too but they didn’t have an issue with it. My IDs were however only in French (I lived in Quebec) and I had to point to them (at the interview) my date of birth and other relevant information.

      I think the waiting is more stressful than the actual cost. I just can’t wait to have all of this done (permanent residency) so we can just move on with our lives and start financially planning for our future (me working, etc.). It’s difficult when you do not have a green card or a social security number…

      Liked by 1 person

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