The simple truth is that it can be expensive to get an immigrant visa for your husband or wife. In general, there are three general categories of costs of getting an immigrant visa: government filing fees, other required costs and legal fees.
Government Fees for Immigrant Visas
$420 Form I-130 filing fee
$230 Immigrant visa processing fees
$88 Affidavit of support processing fee
$165 USCIS immigrant visa fee
Total government fees: $903
Other Required Costs for Immigrant Visas
Medical exam – varies by doctor and location, but is normally at least $100 and is often over $200
Passport photographs – varies by photographer
Translation costs – varies by the translator and type of documents being translated into English
Original documents/certified copies/police certificates – depends on how many documents must be collected and the fees charged in order to obtain the required certificates and copies
There is no requirement to hire an immigration lawyer in order to apply for an immigrant visa. However, many couples find the assistance of an immigration lawyer to be very helpful in obtaining an immigrant visa as quickly as possible and with the least amount of stress. If you decide to apply for an immigrant visa without the assistance of a lawyer, you should plan on spending a considerable amount of time learning about the process before you submit any forms to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes that could end up costing you more money in the long term, cause unnecessary delays or result in a visa denial.
If you decide to work with an immigration lawyer, the legal fees will depend on the lawyer and the complexity of your case. “Price shopping” for a lawyer is almost always a mistake. Instead, you should find a lawyer who has the knowledge to help you with your case, who can explain the process in a way that you can understand and who is otherwise a good match for you. A good starting point is to ask the lawyer to send you copies of their information books or handouts so that you can see how the lawyer explains the immigrant visa process.