Every year, thousands of people ask themselves “how can I move to the USA?”, however many don’t think about how much it could cost. Immigrating, like in any other country, can be very demanding both for time and money. Read on to find out how much it costs to immigrate to the USA.
The USA is one of the most popular countries in the world to immigrate. Despite its popularity, for many, becoming a U.S. permanent resident or a naturalized citizen is a long and costly process. If we sum up all the specific payments towards acquiring citizenship to the USA, the amount ranges somewhere between $4,000 to $11,300. Most people end up spending between $6,000 and $8,000. This is a major expense, and financial preparation is a vital aspect of the migration journey.
One of the obvious factors why immigrating to another country is challenging is cost. In this article, I’ll be explaining some of the finer points that you may not have expected when calculating your budget for immigration.
While the USA is a beautiful country with a lot to see and do, it’s not for everyone. If you’re wanting to try a less permanent (cheaper!) route, why not try the J1 program? it will allow you to get a feel of the American workplace for a 1 year training period, so you can decide later on if it’s for you. Click here to apply to a J1 program today
Now, the costs of immigrating to the USA can vary but below are some of the most important, split into the various sections you can expect to find them in, so without further ado, let’s begin!
USCIS Form Filing Fees
USCIS stands for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
When you apply to the USCIS, there are different fees involved. The filing fee depends on the form of the application for residence. Request for a non-immigrant status is typically easier than an immigrant petition.
For example, a petition for a non-immigrant worker in 2019 costs $325, while an immigrant petition for a non-immigrant worker costs $580.
The fee for petitions varies from one application to another. Asylum seekers do not have to pay a petition fee, but there are filing fees for all other petitions.
Among these immigrant petition costs, the expense of petitioning an Alien Fiancé or an Alien Parent is the lowest at $535 in 2019. Payment for permanent resident status transfer, which refers to individuals living in the US requesting a change of status, is $1,140. The most costly of all requests is an Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur, which is $3,675.
Hiring a lawyer is not a prerequisite for immigration, but hiring one will help push the process forward, particularly given the frequent changes in immigration laws.
The standard legal fees for an immigration lawyer ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 for an H-1B visa (This is a U.S. visa under Section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act that permits U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign employees in specialized occupations.) Fees can easily rise to $10,000 if you have a deportation issue. Family-based petitions usually cost between $800 and $1,500.
Medical and Vaccination Costs
The US requires applicants to undergo a medical examination and receive vaccinations for certain diseases before they immigrate (and potentially COVID 19 depending on future governmental legislation.)
You need to be vaccinated for diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, and polio. The average cost of these vaccines, plus a physical test, will be about $1,000.
You can consider yourself a naturalized citizen after being a permanent resident. As a resident, you can vote and petition your family.
The Naturalization Fee is currently $640-$725 for processing applications and $85 for biometric services. Applicants under 14 years of age and over 70 years of age do not have to pay the biometric fee.
Citizenship Test Prep Materials
Before taking a citizenship exam, it may be useful to take a training lesson. Program fees vary from one provider to another.
The USCIS has a directory of colleges and organizations providing training courses – some are paid programs and others are free.
If you have a negative immigration history or a criminal record, you may have to submit additional forms and documents or pay for additional legal assistance. You should also consider postage, transportation, and other incidental expenses from your home country.
Who knew that transferring to another country would be this costly? But as other people would say, “If there’s a will, there’s away.” You may need to start saving up if you plan to immigrate to the United States! But don’t worry because dreaming big will help you to drive and achieve your goals!
Not really sure how to go to the USA?
There are multiple options for you to try it out before embarking on the costly journey of immigration. One of the more popular methods is to go through the F1 visa. This visa will allow you to spend an extended duration of time in the country, in which you can study and partake in a paid internship for up to 2 years! This will ultimately make the whole citizenship process much quicker (and cheaper!) As it can potentially lead to visa sponsorship.