There are a few nasty surprises when it comes to the CR1 visa process. You see the cost of the first I-130 form and think, brilliant that’s not too bad…but it’s certainly not the end. Today I share just how much the total CR1 USA visa process costs: the form fees, evidence fees and all the hidden extras that soon mount up!
Some fees need to be paid in dollars and as I’m from the UK, the rest were paid in pound sterling. I’ll make it obvious which item used which currency, but for the ease of nationalities, I’ll convert everything into both dollars and pounds. Please be aware that I’ll be using XE to do the converting at the current USD/GBP rate (July 2016), recently because of Brexit the pound crashed so the amounts I paid were slightly different as the exchange rate was a little better back then!
VISA FORM FEES
I-130 – $420
Affidavit of Support (AOS) – $120
IV (DS-260) – $325
Green Card Processing – $160
EVIDENCE SUPPORT FEES
Medical Records from local doctor – £10
Medical Examination in Knightsbridge, London – £250
Tetanus Booster – £35
ACRO UK Police Certificate – £45
3 lots of mailing – $21
USA Passport photos – $10
Passport photos for myself (the intending immigrant) – £5
Train to medical examination in London – £34.30
Train to Embassy interview in London – £34.30
Visa pack courier HOME DELIVERY – £18
TOTAL COST: $1626/£1480
Wow, this is the first time I’ve completely totalled this up myself! Obviously the total is just the cost of the paperwork side of emigrating to the USA, it costs a LOT more in reality. For example: the flight cost (one way tends to cost more than a round trip ticket), extra baggage and shipping costs, paying for a driving test as a UK license is only valid to drive on (in Iowa) for 30 days etc.
I have included the 2 train fares in the cost too. Applicants in the UK are most likely required to go to London for both the medical AND the interview at the Embassy. I live an hour away from London, but I do live on a commuter line and had to leave on the early trains to get to the appointments in time. Those that are further away from London may have more expensive travelling costs and depending on the time of the appointments, may then need accommodation in London for the night too. (When I did Camp America in 2008, I knew a lot of other applicants that had to do this).
Ways to Save Money
- The visa process cost includes being able to pick up the visa pack for free at a courier collection point. I paid the £18 ($23) for the home collection as my nearest points were either in London or in Ipswich, which is around 40 minutes driving. You may be able to save this cost if you live near one of the collection points. For home delivery, someone HAS to be at home and ID is required.
- Passport photos. I saved so much by doing them myself. Our UK sized passport photos are smaller than the 2×2 American sized required for the visa. It also means that to have them done at a photo booth or in a photo shop, they are more expensive. 4 x UK = £6, 4 x USA = £10. The I-130 needs 2 American sized photos. The medical needs 4 in either American or UK size. The ACRO Police certificate needs photos. The embassy need 2 American sized photos too. The catch is, the photos at each point have to be less than 6 months old, when the process takes nearly a year, at least 2 lots will be needed. All you need is a white wall (I used the one in our conservatory) and a point and shoot camera. There are instructions on the NVC website on what is and isn’t accepted and then there is even a handy ‘crop’ tool, where you can upload the photos, position your head between the 2 circles on the tool and then they crop it to a 2×2 sized photo. I then put 2 of these on a 6×4 sized file on photoshop and then printed them out on the photo printing machine up town. This way you can get 4 photos for around 80p ($1). Just cut them out of the 6×4 photo and you are good to go! I printed off 12 photos for £2.40…technically saving myself £18. The spares, I’ll take to America and hopefully be able to use for my USA driving license.
If you have any questions, please let me know! Everything above is correct for my experience and particular application in 2015/2016. Please be aware other countries and each application may be slightly different!