What is the cost of petitioning a foreign relative for permanent residence in the U.S.?
The cost of petitioning a foreign relative for permanent residence in the U.S. through the I-130 form involves several fees. However, please note that immigration fees can change over time, so it’s essential to verify the most up-to-date information on the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or consult an immigration attorney.
The fees involved in the I-130 petition process typically included:
- Filing Fee for Form I-130: This fee covers the initial processing of the petition and varies depending on whether you are sponsoring an immediate relative (spouse, parent, or unmarried child under 21) or a family preference category relative (unmarried child over 21, married child of any age, or sibling). As of my last update, the fee ranged from $535 to $560.
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) Fee: If you are sponsoring a family preference category relative, you might need to submit an Affidavit of Support to demonstrate that you can financially support the sponsored relative. There is a fee associated with this form, which was $0 in most cases but could be up to $120 if certain conditions were met.
- National Visa Center (NVC) Processing Fee: If the petition is approved and the case is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), there is a processing fee that needs to be paid before the case can proceed. As of my last update, this fee was $325.
- Consular Processing Fee: If your relative is applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, there will be a consular processing fee. This fee can vary based on the specific embassy or consulate and the type of visa being processed.
- Medical Examination and Vaccination Costs: Before immigrating to the U.S., the sponsored relative typically needs to undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician. The cost of the medical examination and any required vaccinations can vary.
Remember that these fees might change, and there could be additional costs associated with the immigration process, such as translation fees, travel expenses, and document preparation costs.
For the most current and accurate information on the fees involved in petitioning a foreign relative for permanent residence in the U.S., please visit the official USCIS website or consult an immigration attorney.
How to reduce the cost of petitioning a relative for US immigration?
Reducing the cost of petitioning a relative for U.S. immigration involves careful planning, consideration of available options, and adherence to the necessary processes. Here are some strategies to help you minimize the expenses associated with the immigration process:
- Choose the Right Relative Category: Understanding the different family-based immigration categories can help you choose the most appropriate and cost-effective option. Immediate relatives (spouse, parent, unmarried child under 21) generally have simpler and faster processes with lower fees compared to family preference category relatives (unmarried children over 21, married children, siblings).
- DIY vs. Professional Help: While hiring an immigration attorney can provide valuable guidance and assistance, it also comes with fees. If your case is relatively straightforward and you’re comfortable with the process, you might consider handling the paperwork yourself to save on attorney fees.
- Research Fee Waivers: In certain situations, you may be eligible for fee waivers or reduced fees based on your financial circumstances. Check the USCIS website for information about eligibility criteria and how to apply for fee waivers.
- Group Petitions: If you have multiple family members eligible for immigration, you might be able to submit group petitions, which could lead to cost savings in terms of shared documentation and processing fees.
- Consolidate Documentation: Organize your documentation carefully to avoid redundancy and ensure that you’re submitting all required materials. Submitting complete and accurate documentation can prevent delays and the need for additional fees for resubmission.
- Timely Filing: Make sure to file your petitions and forms on time to avoid late fees or potential changes in fees due to policy updates.
- Avoid Delays: Delays in the immigration process can lead to additional costs for things like renewing documents, re-taking medical exams, or resubmitting forms.
- Explore Alternative Sponsorship Options: In certain cases, having a joint sponsor who meets the financial requirements can help you meet the income criteria without relying solely on your income.
- Medical Examination and Vaccinations: Check with approved panel physicians about the costs of medical exams and vaccinations. Some costs might be negotiable, so it’s worth inquiring.
- Research Consular Processing Fees: Different U.S. embassies and consulates may have varying processing fees. Research the specific fees for the location where your relative will apply for their immigrant visa.
- Budget for Additional Costs: Be prepared for additional expenses such as translation costs, document authentication fees, and travel costs.
- Stay Informed: Immigration policies and fees can change over time. Stay up-to-date by regularly checking the USCIS website and other official sources.
Remember that while reducing costs is important, it’s equally crucial to ensure that all required steps are followed accurately. Cutting corners or making mistakes in the process could lead to delays, denials, or even higher costs in the long run. Consulting with an immigration attorney or seeking professional advice can help you navigate the process effectively.
How long does it take to bring a foreign relative to the US after filing Form I-130?
The timeline for bringing a foreign relative to the U.S. after filing Form I-130 can vary widely depending on various factors, including the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary, the specific family preference category, the USCIS processing times, the National Visa Center (NVC) processing times, and the U.S. embassy or consulate’s processing times for consular processing cases. Here is a general overview of the process:
- USCIS Processing Time: After you file Form I-130, USCIS will process the petition. Processing times can vary depending on the service center handling your case and the type of relative you’re sponsoring. On average, USCIS processing times for Form I-130 could range from several months to over a year.
- National Visa Center (NVC) Processing Time: Once USCIS approves the I-130 petition, the case is forwarded to the NVC. The NVC will process the case and assign a case number. NVC processing times can also vary, but they generally take a few months.
- Consular Processing Time: If your relative is applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing, the U.S. embassy or consulate where the interview will take place will schedule the interview. The time it takes to get an interview appointment can vary depending on the embassy/consulate’s workload and local factors.
- Visa Bulletin Waiting Time: For family preference category relatives (such as unmarried children over 21 or married children), the availability of immigrant visas is subject to numerical limits set by the U.S. government. The Visa Bulletin, published monthly by the U.S. Department of State, indicates when visas are available based on the petitioner’s priority date (the date USCIS receives the Form I-130).
- Travel and Entry: After the visa is issued, your relative can travel to the U.S. Typically, immigrant visas are valid for a certain period, allowing your relative to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident.
It’s important to note that the overall timeline can change due to policy updates, changes in processing times, and other factors. Also, the waiting times for different family preference categories can vary significantly. Some immediate relatives (spouses, parents, unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens) have quicker processing times compared to family preference category relatives.
To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on processing times and timelines, you should regularly check the USCIS website, the Visa Bulletin, and any communication you receive from USCIS and the NVC. It’s also a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.