How much does it cost to get a Green Card? Your 2021 guide

Gabriela Peratello
07.28.21
4 minute read

Getting your Green Card is an exciting step on the journey to become a US permanent resident.

This guide walks through the key Green Card costs you’ll need to budget for when planning your application. We’ll also cover which eligibility categories may be able to secure a Green Card fee waiver, and the Green Card replacement fee.

To help you manage your money across currencies, check out the low cost international payments available from Wise. Open a free online Wise Multi-currency Account to hold, send and spend 50+ currencies, and get currency conversion which uses the real mid-market rate every time. More on that later.

How much does it cost to apply for a Green Card?

Throughout the process of applying for your Green Card there will be several different fees to pay, which can vary depending on the eligibility category you’re applying under, and whether or not you’re already in the US. There’s a handy fee calculator tool on the USCIS website which helps you estimate some of the fees you’ll pay when making your application¹.

Here’s a breakdown of the key costs at the time of writing. We’ll dive into a little more detail by category in just a moment.

How much is a Green Card if I’m not yet in the US?

Green Card application stageGreen Card fee - applicant outside the US
Sponsor submits an immigrant petitionFee depends on your eligibility category*, but may be as high as 700 USD²
Applicant submits DS-260 and DS-261 form as required - pay Green Card processing fee320 USD³
Applicant and sponsor submit Affidavit of Support (AOS)120 USD*³
Biometric fee85 USD**
Medical examFee varies by provider
USCIS immigrant fee220 USD*⁴

* Waivers are available for some categories.
** If biometrics are required.

What’s the Green Card processing fee if I’m already in the US?

Green Card application stageGreen Card fee - applicant in the US²
Sponsor submits an immigrant petitionFee depends on your eligibility category*, but the fee may be as high as 700 USD
Individual submits application to register or adjust status to permanent resident750 USD - 1,140 USD
Biometric fee85 USD**
Medical examFee varies by provider

* Waivers are available for some categories.
** If biometrics are required.

Family based Green Card fees

Although many of the Green Card costs laid out above will be the same no matter what eligibility category you fall into, some do vary based on your circumstance.

Submitting the immigrant petition under the family-based Green Card routes will usually mean using Form I-129F or I-130. Both of these have a 535 USD processing fee at the time of writing, and do not qualify for a fee waiver. Biometric fees should not usually apply.

Employment based Green Card cost

The employer sponsored Green Card cost will include the fee for submitting Form I-140, petition for an alien worker. This comes with a 700 USD fee, in addition to all other relevant costs².

Green Card renewal fees

The standard cost to renew your Green Card is 455 USD plus 85 USD for biometric fees². This cost is waived if you’re applying within 30 days of turning 14 years old, and your card will expire after you turn 16.

What are the payment options for the Green Card fee?

Different fees will usually be due at different stages of the Green Card application process. You’ll be guided through the steps — and get detailed instructions about how to pay — as you go.

The first step in the process for most applicants is to have a sponsor submit an immigrant petition to USCIS. The sponsor will pay the relevant fee by check or money order when they mail in the application form. Alternatively they can complete a supplementary form which allows USCIS to debit a credit card for the fee payment⁵.

Applicants who are not yet in the US, will then also pay the immigrant visa application processing fee and AOS fee to the Department of State online³. You’ll then also pay the USCIS immigrant fee which you can do either after you collect your immigrant visa in your home country, or once you arrive in the US⁶.

If you’re already in the US and filing form I-485 you can pay by check, money order or by authorizing your credit card. In most cases, payments can be made on behalf of the applicant by a sponsor, friend or proxy — you’ll just need all the case details to get the payment sorted.


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Filing a fee waiver for the Green Card application

You can apply for a fee waiver if you fall into an eligible category, by completing and mailing in Form I-192 along with your other application documents.

Possible additional costs for your Permanent Residency in the US

As you’ve seen, there are a broad range of fees that will crop up at different times as you complete the application process for your US Green Card. When you’re planning your finances, it’s important to consider all the applicable costs — including those that are not directly linked to your application.

    💡 Remember to think about extra costs like:
    • Travel costs to attend meetings and interviews
    • Any relevant vaccinations or additional medical cover
    • Passport style photos
    • Getting key documents issued or reissued
    • Translations for documents not already in an accepted language
    • Plane tickets to the US
    • Shipping for your personal goods

    US Green Card costs cover a series of administration fees, as well as practical costs such as finding and translating documents and traveling to interviews and meetings. Budgeting in advance can help you manage the cost — and so can Wise. Use Wise to make low cost international payments, and grab the Wise Multi-currency Account to manage your money across currencies for less.

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    Sources:

    1. USCIS - Fee calculator
    2. USCIS filing fees > fee schedule > form G-1055
    3. Travel.State - Online immigrant visa forms > Pay fees
    4. USCIS - USCIS immigrant fee
    5. USCIS - Form filing tips
    6. Ceac.State - Login

    Sources checked on 07.23.2021


    This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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