A fiancé, or K-1, visa can be a useful tool for getting your non-citizen partner into the United States, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a green card and permanent resident status.
However, you may be wondering what types of costs and expenses are associated with going through the process of getting a fiancé visa.
Generally, your expenses will come from various form filing fees, legal fees, and costs for supporting documentation.
This article will break down the various costs, and give you an idea of how much you should expect to spend in order to get your fiancé visa.
The total costs will vary based on the details of your situation, but will likely run in the range of $4,500 to $7,000.
Here’s a quick look at potential fees, from fiancé visa petition to green card, before we go into further detail below.
Be aware, however, that government fees change from time to time, and you should always double check the most recent fee information (and speak with an attorney) before you make any decisions about your case.
A Quick Rundown of Costs to Expect in Your Fiancé Visa Process
In general, there are two phases of fees and other costs that you should look out for during the fiancé visa process.
The first is your actual K-1 visa petition, which requires several processing fees and related costs.
The second covers the fees related to your green card petition once you enter the United States.
We’ll outline the basics of each below, but please keep in mind that this is far from a comprehensive list of what to expect.
Only an attorney who has reviewed your entire case can give you a fair estimate of how much you should expect to pay for your fiancé visa.
Step 1: K-1 Fiancé Visa Fees and Costs
In general, you should expect to pay the following fees and other related costs during the K-1 fiancé visa process:
- Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé — $535
- DS-160, Consular Electronic Application (Department of State) — $265
- Reasonable attorneys fees and other associated costs — $800 to $1,600
- Costs associated to your medical exam, document preparation, translations, etc. — $100 to $400
Total cost for the K-1 process — $1,700 to $2,800
Step 2: Green Card Fees and Costs
In a similar fashion, you should expect to pay some additional filing fees and other costs once you successfully enter the country and petition for permanent residency:
- Form I-485 Permanent Residency (“Green Card”) Application — $1,225
- Reasonable attorneys fees and other associated costs — $1,500 to $2,500
- Document preparation, translations, etc. — $100 to $400
Total costs for the green card application process — $2,825 to $4,125
Grand Total for Both the Visa and the Green Card = $4,525 to $6,925
Is a Fiancé Visa Appropriate for My Situation?
Before you consider the cost of a fiancé visa, you will want to make sure that this type of visa is actually the best bet for your situation.
You should only pursue a fiancé visa if you and your fiancé are not yet married, one of you is a U.S. citizen living in the United States, and you intend to get married in the United States and stay there.
Once the non-citizen spouse enters the United States on a fiancé visa, you will have 90 days to get married and then apply for a green card.
We’ll provide more details on the costs you should expect below, but please keep in mind that these costs, and the processes invovled, can change on a case-by-case basis.
Always speak with an attorney about the specific costs you should expect before submitting any paperwork.
The information below is simply general information for you to consider when thinking about your case.
Fiancé Visa Petition
The first form that you will file in order to obtain your fiancé visa is the Fiancé Visa Petition (Form I-129F).
You should submit this form to your local United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service center.
Notably, the U.S. citizen spouse must be the one to fill out this form, as they are the one who is “petitioning” for the non-citizen spouse to enter the country.
Filing the Visa Petition puts the government on notice that you and your fiancé are beginning the process.
(Note: government filing fees can change, often without notice. Filing fees listed in this article are current as of the date the article was last updated.)
After USCIS approves your fiancé visa petition, they will issue a K-1 visa to the non-citizen spouse. This visa allows for one entry into the U.S., thus giving them the ability to enter the country for your wedding.
However, you must pay an additional $265 processing fee to the U.S. department of state before the government will issue this K-1 visa.
Adjustment of Status Application
After the non-citizen fiancé enters the United States on the K-1 Visa, you will have 90 days to get married.
Then, you can submit an Adjustment of Status application (Form I-485) to USCIS on the basis of your new relationship.
This adjustment of status application will, as you might imagine from the name, adjust the alien spouse’s status to that of a permanent resident (i.e. they’ll get a green card).
While it is not a requirement to have a lawyer during the fiancé visa application process, a lawyer’s assistance can be extremely useful when navigating what can be a complicated and frustrating process.
Additionally, any mistakes with the petition and other paperwork can result in your visa being denied or delayed, making it all the more important to get it right on the first try.
Legal fees for a fiancé visa will vary from attorney to attorney.
Different attorneys will use different payment arrangements, and some will offer a flat fee for doing a fiancé visa application. You should speak with an attorney in order to determine what you should expect to pay.
It is also important to use an attorney who is experienced with the fiancé visa application process, and who you feel comfortable working with.
Costs for Supporting Documentation
In addition to the filing and processing fees listed above, you’ll have to pay several related costs for supporting documentation and other similar paperwork.
Generally, these costs relate to securing, copying, and translating essential evidence that you’ll need in your case.
Proof of Ability to Marry
When you submit your Fiancé Visa Petition, the government will want to make sure that you and your fiancé have the legal ability to marry in the United States.
If neither of you has been married before, this should not be an issue.
However, if one of you has been married previously, the government will want to see proof that that prior marriage has ended.
This can be done by attaching a divorce decree, an annulment decree, or a death certificate.
There may be costs associated with producing and copying these documents.
Proof of U.S. Citizenship
The government will also want to see proof that your or your fiancé is actually a U.S. citizen when you submit your Fiancé Visa Petition.
You can (usually) prove this by submitting a copy of your fiancé’s birth certificate, passport, or certificate of naturalization. Again, there may be costs for producing these documents.
When you submit your Fiancé Visa Petition you should include a color, passport-style photograph for both you and your fiancé.
You must take these photos within 30 days of the date you file the petition.
The costs of obtaining these photographs will vary.
Criminal Record Documents
If the U.S. citizen fiancé has been convicted of certain violent crimes, you must submit documents such as police or court records that show the outcome of these cases.
Obtaining these records will likely involve a fee, and may require the assistance of an attorney.
After your initial Fiancé Visa Petition has been approved, the non-citizen fiancé will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. consulate.
Before this interview, the fiancé will need to obtain a medical examination to prove that he or she does not have a disease that would make him or her ineligible for admission to the United States.
The costs of this exam will vary, but it is important to make sure that you use a doctor who is qualified by the U.S. consulate—a list is maintained at uscis.gov.
The base fee will be around $150, though there may be additional costs for x-rays and various tests.
You should expect to pay around $4,500 – $7,000 total to get your fiancé visa.
This general estimate includes all the associated governmental fees–for both the fiancé visa and green card application–legal fees, and other costs such as the medical exam and document preparation.
This total cost may be higher or lower depending on your particular situation, the details of your case, and how you chose to proceed.