Taylor & Associates – More than one million people are granted permanent residency each year in the U.S. there are certain opportunities to gain citizenship and the green cards are in high demand and there are an estimated 13.2 million green card holders of whom 8.9 million are eligible for citizenship of the United States.
There are some hurdles to overcome when obtaining a green card with the applications decided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), although in certain cases they can be obtained through an ‘immigration judge’ or a member of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), acting on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General, who may grant permanent residency in the course of removal proceedings.
As immigration attorneys, Taylor & Associates, recommend the benefits of using attorneys who have proven experience as a ‘green card lawyer’ to help work through the application process..
While there are certainly opportunities to gain citizenship in the US, many often wonder “How much does it cost to get a green card?”
The exact costs associated with getting a green card will depend on the type of visa that you have. According to the immigration attorneys at Taylor & Associates, it is recommended that you work with a proven green card lawyer to help you through the application process.
You do not have to hire a lawyer, but it can be beneficial. The cost of your legal fees will depend on the type of visa you have, how much you need an attorney to do, and other circumstances that may impact your case. Learn more below about the costs associated with getting a green card.
What is a Green Card?
A green card offers immigrants the opportunity to eventually apply for citizenship. It is also known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, and is a document issued to immigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently in the United States.
Those that hold a green card are considered “lawful permanent residents.” Holding one allows you to stay in the U.S., work, and/or study for as long as you need. However, in order to maintain eligibility, you must adhere to the requirements of your green card and not commit crimes.
While a green card is close to citizenship, those that hold one cannot vote. They must also renew it every 10 years. Some of the most common types of green cards (and potential costs including legal fees) include:
● Family-Based Green Card: Can cost more than $4,000
● Employment-Based Green Card: Overall cost can exceed $10,000
● Investment-Based Green Card: Will require $500k – $1 million
What Are The Fees For The Initial Petition?
No matter what green card category you are in, you will be required to pay a fee for the initial petition.
The applicant must get an approved petition by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services or the USCIS and then the petition must be filed by either a close family member. If you are applying for a family-based Green Card, also by your employer if you are working in the U.S, or by you as the applicant himself or herself if you plan on investing in the U.S.
Basically, the petition fees that must be paid to USCIS should be paid by the petitioner. So, for example, if someone else is petitioning on your behalf, they must pay the fee. Technically, the petition will not be processed if the fees required are not paid.
So what payments must be made?
Initial fees can range from $535 – $3,675. It’s important to note that fees change often (typically costing more). It’s best to check with USCIS to know recently updated fees. Examples of green card fees for the initial petition include:
● Family-Based: Form I-130 or Form I-129 is $535
● Employment-Based: Form I-140 is $700
● Investor-Based: Form I-526 is $3,675
Are There Other Fees?
Unfortunately, yes, there are many other fees that come along with applying for a green card. The subsequent fee amounts will mostly depend on whether you are going through consular processing or adjusting your immigration status. These fees can range from $325 – $1,140.
Additionally, those applying for a green card may have to pay medical examination fees, USCIS immigrant fees, administrative fees, as well as other potential fees.
Should I Hire an Immigration Attorney?
You may be wondering “If I have to pay so much in fees, why would I pay for an attorney as well?” By working with an immigration attorney, you can potentially save more money and time than you would have expended if applying for a green card without legal representation.
Attorneys have an in-depth understanding of immigration law, will ensure that your application is error-free and that you follow all required steps in the process.
Applying for a green card on your own can lead to costly mistakes that can cause a delay in processing your application or a denial. There are certain complexities involved in the process and the long-term benefits of working with an immigration lawyer (especially when applying for a green card) typically outweigh the cost.