5 ways to save money during the green card process
When applying for a green card, certain fees are unavoidable. You – or whoever covers the costs – will have to pay a fee for filing your claim with the US government. The total amount of fees will depend on whether you are applying inside or outside the United States. From inside the country you’ll have to pay $ 1,760, and from outside you’ll end up paying $ 1,200 – that’s for all government fees, which are listed in the following table:
As you can see, the costs vary depending on the exact amount of your medical exam. But overall, these are the numbers you can expect when completing your application. (If you are curious to see for yourself, you can use the USCIS calculator.)
These are not small amounts, especially when you consider the other expenses of starting a life in a new country, such as travel costs, shipping costs, translation service costs and costs. vaccination costs.
With that in mind, you might want to start thinking about reducing your green card spending. In this article, we will discuss 5 ways to save money when applying for a green card.
If you need help determining the cost of your request, to reach at Boundless today.
Budget, budget, budget
As with most things, it’s a good idea to prepare as much as possible well in advance. To this end, you may want to catalog all the planned expenses related to your green card application and then create a budget that includes those expenses. This will allow you to have some control over your finances throughout the process and reduce some of the uncertainty as you go along. You can include the following in your budget.
● Legal assistance costs (if applicable)
● Application fees
● Other costs associated with the process, such as for the medical examination
● Translation costs (if necessary)
● Photo fees
● Travel to and from the embassy if you are applying from abroad
There are a number of budgeting tools available. If you like spreadsheets, you can opt for Google Sheets.
Or if you prefer something more automated, you can try Mint, an app you can access on just about any device that will allow you to view all of your financial accounts on one page. With Mint, you have the option to track specific goals and you will receive notifications with suggestions to help you save money.
Explore your legal assistance options
Applying for a permanent resident card can be stressful. It’s completely understandable, given the footwork involved, that you want to hire a lawyer. Having a lawyer by your side can help give you much-needed certainty during – what looks like – a very uncertain time.
That being said, legal representation can be a major contributor to green card expenses. Immigration lawyers charge between $ 2,000 and $ 12,000 and an hourly rate of $ 100 to $ 300.
Another option is to take care of the entire application on your own, and while this will save you a lot of money, it could also leave you overwhelmed with the green card process.
A third option – a sort of intermediary option – is to use a service that specializes in immigration assistance but is not a law firm. Without limits, for example, offers a simplified system to complete all required forms. They will even review your request 4 times: 3 times by Boundless and once by an independent lawyer. They will also allow you to pay in installments over a six month period, so that you are not hit by the cost all at once.
If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can also choose to pay $ 24 per month for unlimited telephone consultations with independent immigration attorneys approved by Boundless. That’s well under $ 100, the average cost of legal advice. You will also get 25% off all other legal immigration services. If you’re looking for help but don’t want to spend a lot of money on a lawyer, using a service like Boundless can go a long way in reducing your green card expenses.
Ask a friend for translation help
If your documents are written in a language other than English, you will need to have them translated and certified by a translator. This includes most of the documents related to your green card application, even if they relate to the sponsor.
Although the translation must be certified, you do not need to hire a professional translation service. You can choose, instead, to ask a friend or family member who is fluent in both English and the language to translate. All they need to do is write a statement that they understand the languages involved – and are therefore qualified – and that the documents have been translated accurately. The declaration must contain their:
● And the date
While prices may vary, the average cost for a professional translation service can range from $ 20- $ 40 per page. So having a friend or family member translate the documents can really help cut costs.
Reduce travel costs
It is important to remember when budgeting that the US government will not cover any travel costs incurred as a result of applying for a permanent resident card. For this reason, you should think about how you will get to and from your appointments, including the green card maintenance, medical examination and biometric appointment.
You can, for example, choose to use public transport instead of taking a car, if this is possible in your area. And if you can’t take public transportation, you can try coordinating a carpool with friends who also need to run errands – again, if that makes sense for your situation. The point is, you can start to think about inexpensive ways to travel, which might help you stay on a budget.
In most cases, you will need two sets of two 2×2 photos – one for your green card application and one for your travel permit application. These photos must satisfy certain conditions – that, A HREF = https: //travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/photos.html> you can find on the US Department of State website.
Anyone can take these photos, as long as they meet the criteria. This means that you can, as USCIS suggests, use professional service – many pharmacies will do that for you.
You can also choose to take the photos yourself. While the latter comes with risks, it is also less expensive. If you choose to take the photos yourself, you should carefully study the requirements and the photo composition template provided by the State Department. And you should check three times to make sure your photos are formatted correctly.
Again, the DIY approach could be risky, but it could also be a way to save money, so you’ll want to weigh the risk against the potential savings.
These are just a few of the ways you can save money throughout the green card application process. If you are confused and need help understanding the costs associated with a Permanent Resident Card, you can to reach at Boundless today.