CR1 Visa Cost To Sponsor Spouse For Green Card
US Immigration is not cheap. It will cost thousands of dollars from the initial visa application all the way to US citizenship (if you choose this option). The CR1 visa cost is high because of the amount of time and work involved for USCIS to process these applications.
Here’s an interesting fact: Immigration applications are not paid by US tax payers. This expense is completely paid by the applicants themselves through the filing fees that they pay.
If you came to this page to find out the total CR1 visa cost, great! I’ll break down all of the CR1 visa cost so that you know exactly how much to set aside to bring your spouse to America.
Mario naturalized to become a US citizen 6 months ago and he met his wife over a year ago in Mexico. He decides that he wants to bring her to the US so they can start a family. He is currently working but is concerned about the upfront cost of the CR1 visa.
After doing some research, he realized that it will cost a good amount and begins putting some money from each paycheck to help cover the costs.
Many people are surprised by the cost of immigration. Not only do you have to pay for the initial filing fee, but there are also expenses for police clearance, postal expense, printing photos, travel expenses, and the medical exam.
CR1 Visa Cost: The I-130 Expenses
When you first decide to apply for the CR1 spouse visa, you’re likely more excited about bringing your spouse home to you than the actual expense. That’s understandable because your spouse means more to you than a few hundred (or thousand) dollars, right?
You are willing to pay any amount of money to begin your life with them in the US. This is why immigration lawyers cost so much money. They know that love has no limits when it comes to cost, and most people are willing to pay whatever it takes for their sweetheart.
But, I recommend you do some research before you bring out your credit card to pay for help with the CR1 visa application. There are a lot of scams on the internet today and a lot of people wanting to separate you from your hard earned dollars.
How Much Does The I-130 Application Cost?
The I-130 petition is the first step in bringing your spouse home. This initial petition asks USCIS to consider the evidence of your marriage and your legal residence in the United States as proof of your eligibility to bring your foreign spouse.
I-130 petition cost: $535
- Air travel: $500 – $2500
- Printing expense: $5-$50
- Postage: $5-$20
- Organizing supplies: $10-$15
As you can see, the additional expenses can really add up. Some of them are optional but most people tend to spend a little money on putting together their application.
CR1 Visa Cost: The NVC Expense
After your initial I-130 is approved, you then move on to the National Visa Center (NVC) stage which has additional costs. One of the major expenses at this stage is the Affidavit of Support fee and Immigrant Visa fee. Let’s look at each of these fees in more detail below.
Immigrant Visa Fee:
Before the CR1 visa can be issued, you’ll need to pay the immigrant visa fee. This fee is used to process your visa by the National Visa Center (NVC) and set up your interview at the US Consulate or Embassy.
Immigrant visa fee for I-130 is $325.
There is no way to avoid paying this fee. It can get very expensive if you are also bringing along children and applying for CR2 visas for them because each applicant must pay this fee.
Affidavit of Support Fee:
Finally, you will need to pay the affidavit of support fee for processing of your affidavit of support, form I-864. Thankfully, you only have to pay this fee once whether you are applying only for yourself or for your children.
The affidavit of support fee for the I-130 is $125.
CR1 Visa Cost: The Interview Expenses
The final stage of the CR1 visa process is the interview. If you’ve gotten this far, congratulations! You are almost at the finish line.
The CR1 visa interview doesn’t cost money but there may be fees associated with it such as travel and lodging. Many people don’t realize that there are only a few select location in each country that handles the visa interviews.
This means that you will likely be traveling to another city for the CR1 visa interview.
In my case, I had to travel to Montreal which was about 2.5 hours away from where I lived at the time in Canada. I had to pay for a hotel near the US consulate for one night and there was also costs for gas and food too.
Compare Cost Of CR1 Visa To K1 Visa
Many of you have likely thought about which visa to apply for between the K1 finance visa and the CR1 spouse visa. Well, I’m here to tell you that they both have their pros and cons and cost may be one of them.
The cheaper route is the K1 visa but this is only considering the initial cost. In the end, the K1 visa will cost about the same but more time and frustration because the process will be stretched during a longer period of time. What I mean by this is that it will take you longer to become a green card holder.
The CR1 visa has a higher upfront cost but the process is compact. You will get your green card as soon as you arrive in the United States and will not need to pay any additional fees until it’s time to remove the conditions on your 2 year green card.
To learn more about the pros and cons for CR1 Visa vs. K1 Visa, check out this podcast episode!
How To Save Money On The CR1 Visa
Okay, so we know that the CR1 visa is expensive so how can we save money when filing the application?
I’ll be honest and tell there’s no way you can avoid paying the I-130 application fee. This is required for everyone who wishes to apply for the CR1 visa.
The I-130 fee is used to pay the adjudicator salaries who process the applications since USCIS does not take tax payor money to fund this department. 😏
So, to save a little money on the process make sure that you follow these tips:
- Be sure to submit a complete and signed application.
- This will help you save money because your application won’t be rejected or denied if it’s complete and accurate.
- Be as organized as possible to avoid delays in application approval.
- Being organized when putting together your I-130 petition will make sure that you don’t miss something important that can result in a denial.
- Don’t visit your spouse just yet.
- If you can hold off on visiting your spouse overseas, do it! You can save money on the trip and they will be in the US sooner than you think. If this isn’t possible, I don’t blame you because I’m sure you miss the heck out of them!
- Make sure beneficiary has their vaccinations.
- This is probably one tip you are scratching your head about. Here’s why it’s important: the cost of vaccination through the panel physician is expensive. Much more expensive than your regular family doctor.
- Plan a trip beforehand for your interview.
- This tip only applies to those of you who have the interview scheduled in a different city. It can be expensive to book a hotel, car rental or flight to get to the interview. Plan ahead and find a good deal.
- Booking your flight to the US.
- Finally, once you are approved for the CR1 visa, you can still save money by booking your flight on a specific day that cheaper or buying a two-way flight. Yes, a one-way flight makes more sense but they can actually result in a higher cost for your ticket.
Conclusion: Total CR1 Visa Cost
Now that you know the true cost of the CR1 visa, are you ready to pay up? Many of USCIS immigrant applications require that you send a check so paying by credit card is out of the question. This might be a good thing because you won’t get into debt but if you don’t have cash, you will need to wait until you’ve saved enough money.
Another option that we haven’t discussed is borrowing funds for the application fee from family or friends. This can be a great way to get started if you are unemployed or short on funds. It doesn’t matter where the money comes from as long as it is drafted from a US bank account on a US check.
If in the event that you and your spouse go your separate ways after submitting the I-130 petition, you won’t be able to get a refund. Even if you ask to cancel the petition the next day, USCIS will likely still cash your check and process your application. To cancel the I-130, submit the request in writing to the same field office that you sent the original petition to.
After all that you and your long distance spouse have gone through, paying hefty filing fees is just another hurdle in your journey to be together. Don’t get discouraged! Continue on this immigration path and it will pay off nicely.
Do you think the I-130 filing fee is too expensive? How did you come up with the funds?
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.