On this page, you will learn about family-based green card filing fees, how much it costs to sponsor an immigrant and all other information related to the cost of a green card application.

Every family-based green card application process starts by filing forms such as the I-130 and I-485, depending on the location of the green card application beneficiary. Each of these application forms has its own filing fees. In addition, there are other expenses, such as immigration medical exam fees, biometric service fees, and many more. All these make up the total cost of a family-based green card application. If you are pursuing permanent residence under the family-based category, this article gives you a breakdown of all the expenses from the beginning to the end of this process. Whether you want to bring a spouse, a fiance, a parent, or your child to the U.S., VisaNation is here to make the entire process much easier. Get started today!

Let Us Help You with Family-Based Green Card Approval


The Costs of Green Card Application Fee

In terms of family-based immigration cases, your green card application fee could be as low as $1,340 and as high as $3,090. The former is for the price for individuals applying from outside the U.S., and the latter is for the ones applying from within the country. These figures are only relevant to immigration cases that are straightforward and do not receive rejections, reconsideration, or other procedural setbacks.

Form Filing Fee

Applying from Outside the U.S.

Applying from Inside the U.S.

I-130: Petition for Alien Relative

$675 (paper filing) or $625 online filing)

$675 (paper filing) or $625 online filing)

I-485: Green Card Application

Not Applicable


I-864: Affidavit of Support






State Department Processing


Not Applicable

USCIS Immigrant Fee


Not Applicable

I-131: Travel Permit (Optional)

Not Applicable 


I-765 Work Permit (Optional)

Not Applicable 


Additional Green Card Costs

The above cost of a green card application does not include medical examination fees. This varies drastically from country to country and even between cities in some countries. On average, you can expect to pay around $300 for your exam. However, prices can vary from $100 to $500 per exam.

When considering how much a green card will cost you, you should also consider additional fees you may encounter during the application process.

  • Document fees – you are likely will have to submit various supporting documents as evidence in your application package. The costs for these may vary depending on the retrieval fees of your local government agencies.
  • Translation fees – if your supporting evidence is not in English, you will have to translate them into English. Each document must be translated and certified by a professional translator. You could incur considerable translation costs if you have numerous documents that need translation.
  • Photo fees – you will have to submit passport-sized photos during your application to verify your identity. The prices for passport-sized photos aren’t usually too high. Also, you are allowed to take your own photos as long as they are acceptable.
  • Travel expenses – you will probably have to travel to your medical exam, interview, and even your biometrics appointment. If you are located in a city or country without a U.S. consulate or embassy, you will have to take the transportation costs into account.
  • Mailing costs – depending on the requirements of your immigration case, you might have to mail physical copies of forms and supporting evidence to USCIS or NVC. Make sure to take note of your mailing fees.

Cost of Sponsoring Green Cards for Family Members

The cost to sponsor an immigrant who is your relative can vary between $0 and $3,090. The actual cost depends on how much you want to cover the immigration costs. In some cases, the sponsors would cover the entirety of the cost of bringing a relative to the U.S.

However, relatives would offer to cover the immigration costs in other cases. The costs themselves would be as outlined in the table above. You should also take into consideration that if your application is denied or rejected due to errors or missing documentation, the costs will dramatically increase. VisaNation lawyers always make sure that there is minimal chance of unexpected expenses with family immigration cases. Get started today!

You can act as a sponsor for two types of family immigration. Remember, you can choose how much of the costs you want to cover; you are not required to cover all costs.

  • The cost of sponsoring immediate relatives like a spouse, an unmarried child who’s under 21, or a parent of a U.S. citizen is between $0 and $3,090. These applications are processed as soon as they are submitted.
  • The cost of sponsoring a family preference category relative like an unmarried child who’s over 21, spouses of lawful permanent residents, married children, brothers and sisters is between $0 and $3,090. These applications are processed in accordance with the Visa Bulletin priority dates. This category includes all other family members of a U.S. citizen who do not qualify as immediate relatives.

Complete Your Family Green Card Application Today


What Kinds of Family-Based Green Cards Are There?

Are you interested in getting a family-based green card or sponsoring someone for one? Are you planning to come with several family members? In some cases, you may find yourself petitioning for more than one type. It helps to know which ones are available and which ones are appropriate for your situation. For starters, there are two main categories of family-based green cards.

Immediate Relatives

These green cards are only available to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. If you keep up with the monthly visa bulletins released by the Department of State, you will see that these green cards have been excluded. This is because one of the main benefits of these is the fact that the priority dates for IR visas are automatically current, meaning that there is no obligatory waiting period once the petition has been approved. See the difference between IR-1 and CR-1 visas in our detailed guide.

Here are the five IR green cards:

  • IR-1: This is for the spouses of U.S. citizens.
  • IR-2: This green card is for a U.S. citizen’s unmarried children who are under the age of 21.
  • IR-3: This third level would be used for an orphan who was previously adopted by the U.S. citizen in a foreign country.
  • IR-4: In the same vein as the previous level, this one is for orphans who are being brought to the U.S. to be adopted.
  • IR-5: Lastly, the fifth level is for the parent of a U.S. citizen who is over the age of 21.

The process of bringing an immediate family member to the U.S. can be quite lengthy, considering that you will have to search and fill out appropriate forms, and provide necessary supporting evidence. With VisaNation, there is no guesswork, our lawyers will take control of your application. Start your application today!

Non-Immediate Relatives

These green cards are available to the non-immediate relatives of U.S. citizens as well as the immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents (green card holders). In contrast to the IR green cards, these do have backlogged priority date waiting times.

  • F-1: Unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens
  • F-2: Children under 21, spouses, and unmarried children over 21 of lawful permanent residents. There are two subcategories for this, the F-2A and the F-2B.
  • F-3: Married children of U.S. citizens as well as their spouses and any children they might have.
  • F-4: Siblings (brothers and sisters) of U.S. citizens

You will need to select the green card that best fits your situation and that of the person who is receiving the visa.

We Make Family Immigration Easy and Simple


The Costs of Green Card Forms

As of 2024, if you are filing a family-based green card, the following are the required fees for each of the application forms involved.

  • The fee for I-130 is $675 – Petition for Alien Relative. This petition should be filed by your U.S. citizen sponsor.
  • The fee for I-485 is $1,440 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You must submit this after the I-130 has been approved.
  • The fee for I-129F is $675 – Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) – this is needed if you enter with K-1 or K-3 status.
  • The fee for I-765 is $260 – Application for Employment Authorization, if approved, this form will allow you to receive an EAD to work in the U.S. (This fee is if you filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with a fee on or after April 1, 2024, and your Form I-485 is still pending.)
  • The fee for I-131(A) is $575 – Application for Carrier Documentation, this form allows you to apply for carrier documentation, enabling you to board an airline or other transportation carrier.

To see the consular processing fees, you will need to check your home country’s embassy website as the cost varies according to the nation of origin.

It is important to note that not all of these forms are mandatory family-based green card filing fees. Depending on your case, some of these forms may not apply to you while other forms may apply that are not on this list. USCIS added a Fee Calculator to their website that allows you to quickly calculate the costs of any of USCIS forms.

It’s Never Been Easier to Bring Your Family to the U.S.


How Should I Make These Payments?

The USCIS gives specific guidelines as to how filing fees should be paid. While a few application form fees can be paid online (the I-131A form, for example), most must be paid through the mail or in person.

The USCIS accepts cashier’s checks, personal checks, money orders, and bank drafts. Each fee must be paid in a separate payment, so avoid adding the fees together into one large payment sum.

If you decide to pay in person at a U.S. field office, you will be able to pay with a credit card.

Because the payment requirements associated with some forms depend on your country of citizenship, you can visit this website to get a better understanding of how these payments should be made.

Get Green Cards for Your Family Members


Can I Get a Waiver for My Family-Based Green Card Fees?

You may get a waiver for some of the fees if you meet certain criteria. The USCIS allows fee waivers for certain immigration applications, including family-based green cards. To qualify for a waiver, you must demonstrate that you cannot afford the filing fee as a result of any of the following reasons:

  • The total annual income of your household is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • You are currently burdened with financial hardship such as unemployment or large medical expenses.

Keep in mind that not all green card application forms have a fee waiver option. You can only waive the I-485 form and biometric service fees. You can request a fee waiver by submitting the I-129 form along with evidence showing that you meet the eligibility requirements.

Can I Get a Refund on My Family-Based Green Card Filing Fees?

Unfortunately, the USCIS will not give out a refund for an unfavorable decision on one of your petitions or applications. The circumstances that warrant a refund are as follows:

  • The USCIS mistakenly asked you to file a form that was not necessary.
  • A form was processed with a fee that was greater than that which is required.
  • The USCIS did not process a petition filed with premium processing within 15 calendar days.

There may be extraordinary circumstances that could also warrant a refund of your family-based green card filing fees. If you and your immigration attorney feel that you deserve a refund, contact the USCIS.

Immigration Attorney Fee

Though optional, you will need to factor it in if you are going to engage the service of an expert to make your application process hitch-free and improve your chances of green card approval. Attorney fees vary widely among immigration lawyers.

Keep in mind that the cheapest option isn’t always the best one. You will need to compare what each attorney proposes to offer in their green card application service. You may be charged a flat rate for the preparation of various documents involved in your I-130 petition.

If you want further services after the approval of the I-130 form, you can discuss the fees for other steps, such as I-485, I-131 and I-765 forms.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

Get Started

To ensure that your family-based green card fees are up to date with 2020 standards and also filed to the right places, the best solution is to hire an immigration attorney to help you with your case. VisaNation Law Group's experienced attorneys specialize in helping families stay together throughout the immigration process. They are dedicated to the success of your case, and our lawyers will help you every step of the way from filing the petition to addressing any unforeseen obstacles.