Understanding the Cost of Petitioning a Relative on an I-130 Form

How can I sponsor my relative if I am a U.S. citizen?

As a U.S. citizen, you have the option to sponsor certain relatives for immigration to the United States through family-sponsored immigration. The process typically involves petitioning for your relative to receive an immigrant visa or green card. Here are the general steps to sponsor a relative as a U.S. citizen:

  • Determine Eligibility:

    • S. citizens can sponsor the following relatives:
      • Spouse
      • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
      • Unmarried children over 21 years of age
      • Married children of any age
      • Siblings
    • File Form I-130, Petition for

      Alien Relative:

      • The first step is to file Form I-130 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is the petition you file on behalf of your relative to establish the qualifying family relationship.
    • Wait for USCIS


      • Once USCIS receives the Form I-130, they will process the petition and, if approved, send you a notice confirming the approval.
    • Priority Date and Visa


      • Depending on the relationship category and the relative’s country of origin, there might be a wait time due to numerical limitations. The Priority Date assigned to your relative’s petition will determine when they can proceed with the next steps.
    • National Visa Center (NVC) Processing:

      • Once the I-130 petition is approved and a visa number becomes available, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
    • Choice of Agent

      and Payment of Fees:

      • You will need to choose an agent, typically the petitioner (you), and pay the required visa application and processing fees.
    • Submit Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):

      • You will need to submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support your relative.
    • Form DS-260

      and Supporting Documents:

      • Your relative will need to complete Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, and provide supporting documentation.
    • Consular Interview:

      • Your relative will attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. During the interview, they will provide documentation and answer questions to determine their eligibility for an immigrant visa.
    • Visa Issuance and Entry:

      • If the consular officer approves the immigrant visa application, your relative will receive an immigrant visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the U.S. and apply for admission as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
    • Adjustment of Status (Optional):

      • If your relative is already in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, they might have the option to adjust their status to permanent residency through USCIS instead of consular processing.

It’s important to note that the sponsorship process can be complex and the steps can vary based on individual circumstances and the specific family relationship. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help ensure that you navigate the process correctly and understand the specific requirements and timelines for sponsoring your relative.

How much does it cost to sponsor a relative by filing Form I-130?

The cost to sponsor a relative by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is $535. This fee is paid by the U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is petitioning for their eligible relative. The fee is subject to change, so it’s essential to check the most up-to-date fee information on the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website before submitting your petition.

In addition to the Form I-130 filing fee, there may be other costs associated with the sponsorship process, such as:

  • Document Translation and Authentication: If any documents you submit are not in English, they will need to be translated. Additionally, some documents may need to be authenticated by the relevant authorities in the country where they were issued.
  • Supporting Documentation Costs: There may be costs associated with obtaining required supporting documentation, such as obtaining official copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, police certificates, etc.
  • Biometrics Fee (if applicable): USCIS may require biometric information for certain applicants, and there could be a separate fee associated with this process.
  • Consular Processing Fees: If your relative is applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, there will be additional fees associated with that process. These fees can vary depending on the specific embassy or consulate.
  • Affidavit of Support Fee (Form I-864): If your relative successfully obtains an immigrant visa and plans to apply for Adjustment of Status within the U.S., there will be a separate fee for submitting Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, along with the green card application.
  • Medical Examination: If your relative is applying for an immigrant visa, they may need to undergo a medical examination by a designated panel physician. The cost of the medical examination can vary by location.

It’s important to budget for these potential additional costs when considering the overall expenses of sponsoring a relative. Keep in mind that immigration fees and requirements can change, so always refer to the most up-to-date information from USCIS before proceeding with any application or petition. Read more “list your business in the” “free and paid submission to the” “add your site” statistics

How can I pay Form I-130 filing fee?

The Form I-130 filing fee, which is paid to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), can be paid using the following methods:

  • Online Payment: If you are filing Form I-130 online through the USCIS website, you can pay the filing fee using a credit card, debit card, or U.S. bank account. USCIS accepts major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
  • Check or Money Order: If you are filing Form I-130 by mail, you can pay the filing fee using a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Make sure to write your full name, date of birth, and A-Number (if applicable) on the check or money order.
  • Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions: Some USCIS forms, including Form I-130, allow you to pay the filing fee using Form G-1450. This form authorizes USCIS to charge your credit card for the specified amount. If using this option, make sure to complete Form G-1450 and attach it to your application.

Please note that USCIS fees and payment methods can change, so it’s crucial to review the most up-to-date information on the USCIS website before submitting your application. Additionally, when paying the filing fee, be sure to double-check the payment instructions provided with the specific form you’re submitting to ensure accuracy.

Always retain a copy of your payment receipt, whether it’s a copy of the check, money order, credit card statement, or Form G-1450, as proof of payment for your records.

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