Immigrating to the United States through legal means does not come cheap. However, it would help your chances of acquiring citizenship if you knew about the expenses beforehand.
For many people, the American dream has always been worth striving for, even for citizens of other countries. From developing to developed nations, migrating to the United States is seen as an excellent opportunity for a better life.
However, it’s important to realize as early as now that becoming a legal U.S. citizen is not cheap. If you plan to go to the U.S. and become an immigrant, here are the following costs that you should expect:
If you apply for a student, family member, fiance, or work visa in Orem, for example, you have to pay petition and filing fees that cost around $500 to $800. Of course, this value depends on the type of visa you’re applying for. Generally, work and adoption visas cost the most, while special refugee visas come at little to no cost.
If you are not familiar with the application process, you can choose to hire an immigration lawyer who can help you file the application. Lawyer fees for basic filing can range from $250 to $800, while consultations cost around $75-150 an hour.
2. Transportation and living expenses
After you get your visa, you can now enter the United States legally. The transportation and living costs for your first months (or years) in the country depends on your original location and lifestyle. For a single adult with no children, the estimated living costs are around $10,000 to $13,000 a year. For a four-person family, the cost of living is around $45,000 to $50,000 per year.
3. Green card
Getting a green card signifies that you are a permanent resident of the United States, having successfully met the conditions set beforehand. Most of the time, immigrants are given a green card on a “conditional” status that is good for two years. After that, you have to renew your green card every ten years to be able to work and live in the country legally.
To get a lawyer who can provide green card assistance, you can expect to shell out $800 to $5,000, on top of the USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) fees that range from $460 to $700.
If you have now lived in the United States for at least five years with a green card (or at least three years if you have a U.S. citizen spouse), you can now apply for American citizenship. Application costs $725 including the fingerprint fee (biometrics). But if you are going to start a business in the country, it will cost you $2,850 to become a citizen.
To become a citizen, you have to pass the naturalization test, which includes an English exam and a civics exam. Some individuals spend money on review kits or booklets to prepare for this test, and the price depends on the source. Alternatively, you can read forums and watch videos online to help you pass the test.
The cost of becoming a U.S. citizen ranges from $6,000 to $8,000 on average. If you plan to immigrate to the United States and become a citizen, it’s highly recommended that you begin preparing for these fees as early as possible. This way, the financial burden won’t be as heavy while you’re achieving your American dream.