How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a Green Card in the USA?

Applying for a US Green Card can be an expensive process. Some jobs provide a way to become a Permanent Resident. Sometimes, though, you arrive in the US with a work visa and after at least two (2) years, you become eligible to apply for Permanent Residence, aka Green Card.

By the way, it’s called a “Green Card” because the Permanent Resident cards issued before 1976 had the green color. Since 2002, though, the card has a light pink color.

We arrived in the USA in the third quarter of 2015. By mid-2017, we became eligible to apply for Permanent Residence. However, because of the demands of my job, we chose not to apply. But I was actively seeking information about the process and what it will require from us.

Expensive!

I talked with two (2) different lawyers to understand how much the Green Card process will cost.

First lawyer: $12,000 to $18,000 all in

A person in my office had a similar situation. They chose to secure the services of the lawyer of our office. the same lawyer who processed our employment visa a couple of years back.

They spent between $12,000 to $18,000 in applying for a green card. That involved him, his wife, and two kids.

I called the lawyer and confirmed that amount. Since there are three (3) of us applying, we may be in the lower end of the range.

Second lawyer: $9,795

Thankfully, I heard about another friend of mine who is in Nevada. They have also recently applied for Permanent Residence. They also secured the services of a lawyer to facilitate this.

He gave me the email of their lawyer. After several email exchanges, the lawyer gave me the amount of $9,795 all in.

Here’s the breakdown of this:

  • Legal Fees for I-360 (Special Immigrant): $4,500
  • Legal Fees for I-485 (adjustment of status): $1,650 ($550 per applicant)
  • Government fee for I-360: $435
  • Government fee for I-485: $3210 ($1070 per applicant)
  • TOTAL: $9,795

Green Card Application Cost: The Do-It-Yourself Option

We decided that the two options above were too expensive! So we decided to use the Do-It-Yourself option! And the following is how much we actually paid for.

  • I-360 (Special Immigrant) Application Fee: $435
  • I-485 (Adjustment of Status) for me: $1140
  • I-485 (Adjustment of Status) for my wife: $1140
  • I-485 (Adjustment of Status) for our son under 14: $750
  • Biometrics fee: $170 ($85 X 2 persons; son does not pay for it)
  • TOTAL: $3,635
  • Please note that this does not include postage and the medical fees. We have yet to do our medical test for the I-485.

As you can see, by doing the application yourself, you can save around $6,000. But I would strongly caution you to consider the potential complexities of your situation.

I felt that our own situation was simple enough and so we decided to do it ourselves. Sure, it meant spending countless hours reading the instructions and filling out the form, but I felt confident that I could do it right.

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