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Costs Involved in Obtaining a Green Card

When the Taliban insurgency deposed the democratic government of Afghanistan in August 2021, international news media outlets broadcast frantic scenes of desperation as thousands rushed Kabul International Airport hoping to board evacuation flights. In one segment aired by BBC News, an Afghan man trying to enter the airport showed his green card, which he had obtained after working for the United States military as a logistics contractor.

Thousands of Afghans who worked for American forces as interpreters, contractors, and battlefield collaborators are now eligible for the benefit of permanent legal residency, and they may be able to sponsor immediate family members such as spouses and children so they can also get green cards. In the cases of interpreters who served on the front lines and experienced combat, some of their own filing fees and associated petition costs will be waived, and rightfully so, but they’ll later have to face the following.

Petition for Alien Relative

Of all the forms handled by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, San Diego immigrants should be aware that this one is the most difficult to waive in terms of fees, which as of August 2021 were $535. Form I-130 is completed and submitted by the sponsor.

Application to Adjust Status

Going from conditional resident to permanent status requires filing Form I-485, which has a range of filing fees, depending on the applicant. The fee for forms submitted on behalf of children under the age of 14 is $750. Elderly applicants who are at least 79 years old have to pay $1,140. All other applicants between the ages of 14 and 78 must submit a filing fee of $1,125, and this includes the biometric fingerprinting requirement. It should be noted that Form I-485 is for immigrants who are already residing in the U.S.

Alien Registration Application

This form is submitted online in lieu of being physically present in the U.S. In the aforementioned case of an Afghan logistics contractor, he or she probably filed Form DS-260 after the U.S. Embassy approved his or her I-130 petition sponsored by the State Department, which means he or she paid a $325 filing fee.

Affidavit of Support

When this form is included in the I-485 packet, it doesn’t require payment of fees. Applicants who are overseas and going through the application process at a U.S. Embassy or consular office must include a filing fee of $120 along with Form I-864.

USCIS Immigrant Fee

In the case of applicants who are moving to the U.S. permanently, there will be a $220 one-time fee charged by USCIS upon visa approval and prior to arrival.

Various Other Fees

Medical exams for immigration purposes usually cost around $300. Should USCIS case adjudicators request supporting documents to be duly certified through the apostille process, additional costs may be incurred. Rejected applications can be appealed through a law firm, which would charge for representation fees. When everything is added up, the cost of a family-based green card can be between $3,000 and $5,000 or more in 2021.

If you need information on how to get a green card or any other aspect of immigration, contact the experienced San Diego immigration lawyers at KS Visa Law today. From family immigration law to naturalization, we can address all your immigration-related needs. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

October 2021
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