Last updated on May 17th, 2019
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, though will likely run in the range of $4,000 to $6,000.
Here’s a quick look at potential fees, from fiancé visa petition to green card, before we go into further detail below. Be aware that government fees change from time to time:
Step 1: K-1 Fiancé Visa Fees and Costs
$800-$1,600 – Attorney Fees
$100-$400 – Medical Exam, Document Preparation, Translations, etc.
Total = $1,700 to $2,800
Step 2: Green Card Fees and Costs
$1500-$2500 – Attorney Fees
$100-$400 – Document Preparation, Translations, etc.
Total = $2,825 to $4,125
Grand Total = $4,525 to $6,925
Is a Fiancé Visa Appropriate for my Situation?
Before discussing the cost of a fiancé visa, you will want to make sure that a fiancé 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.
If you intend to marry outside the United States, and then apply for entry into the United States, a fiancé visa is not the correct option.
Applying for and obtaining a fiancé, or K-1, visa is a multi-step process that can span many months. At each stage of the process, you will have to file paperwork with the government, and there are filing fees attached to each required form.
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). This form will be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and must be filled out by whichever fiancé is the U.S. citizen.
Filing the Visa Petition puts the government on notice that you and your fiancé are beginning the process. Currently, there is a $535 filing fee that must be paid when submitting the Fiancé Visa Petition.
(Note: government filing fees change, often without notice. Filing fees listed in this article are current as of the date the article was posted.)
Once the USCIS approves your petition for a Fiancé Visa, a K-1 Visa will be issued, allowing the non-citizen fiancé to enter the United States.
An additional $265 fee must be paid to the U.S. Department of State before the government will issue a K-1 Visa.
Adjustment of Status Application
Once your non-citizen fiancé is in the United States on the K-1 Visa, you will need to submit an Adjustment of Status Application (Form I-485), in order to change your immigration status to a permanent resident of the United States.
There is a $1,225 filing fee for Form I-485 ($85 of which is a biometrics services fee that need not be paid if you are over 78 years old).
Costs for Supporting Documentation
During the process of applying for your fiancé visa, you will need to produce several additional documents supplying information that the government will want to know, and there will likely be costs associated with securing, copying, and translating these documents.
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.
This can be done 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 submitting your Fiancé Visa Petition, you will need to include a color, passport-style photograph for both you and your fiancé that has been taken 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.
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.
You should expect to pay around $4,500 – $7,000 total to get your fiancé visa, including 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.