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How Much is the Visa Process for The Move to America

09 July, 2014 09:54  Erin Erin

At EasyExpat we provide the latest and greatest in expat news, but sometimes a personal journey can best explain the unique challenges and triumphs involved in moving abroad. Meet Molly and follow along on her adventure in the Move to America.

Visa cost move to america I have been asked many times by future expats, or those in long distance relationships who are contemplating a move to America, about how much the visa process costs.

I am always happy to share my experiences, especially if what I write helps to give a realistic idea of what to expect. The visa process is an expensive one, whichever visa you go for, but for a bit of extra information, here is what I encountered when applying for my spousal visa (prices reflect what was applicable at the time my visa was issued in 2013).

I-130 Petition Fees

My visa process started with filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a cost of $420. To accompany this form there was a selection of evidence that had to be provided, so I ended up spending an extra $100 or so on top of that.

A total (for me) at this stage of $520 or around £306.

National Visa Service Fees

Once my case got referred on to the National Visa Center (NVC) I had to file a further two forms - the DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration and the Affidavit of Support.

The DS-230 cost $230 and the Affidavit cost $88. There was also further evidence required (things like a UK police certificate) which brings the total for this stage to about $440 which is about £260.

Visa Medical Examination Fees

Then came the visa medical examination which had a cost of £277 - this does not include the train tickets and hotel stay needed to get to the embassy approved medical examiners in London. Then there was the return to London the following week for the US Embassy interview, so there were more train fares and hotel costs, plus an additional embassy processing fee of £165 on the day.

The cost - without the train and hotel fares - came to £442 or about $749.

Total Costs Applying for a Visa for the USA

The cost just to file the relevant forms, gather the required evidence and pay for the medical/embassy came to approximately $1,709 or £1,008. Once you add in the train and hotel costs, you can see that it all adds up, however, the fees and costs do come in stages, so you can try and plan ahead and do not have to have all the money upfront. With that said, I would offer the following advice:

  • Research the costs first and try and get a good chunk of the amount you think you will end up paying saved up first
  • Factor in unexpected delays or need for extra evidence/resubmitting of forms - I encountered this several times and it slowed everything down as I had to save up more money so my actual expenditure was closer to $2,500
  • Be prepared for extra costs to suddenly appear and/or change (the fee at the embassy of £165 had only been introduced a week before I went for my interview)

I hope this has helped answer a few queries you may have had about the costs I encountered whilst completing my spousal visa. If you have any further questions you can leave a comment or contact me through my blog, The Move to America.

For more information on visas in America, refer to our comprehensive expat guides for the USA, such as Passport, Visa & Permits for New York City. Look for Molly's earlier posts in the Moving Abroad category or new posts on the first Wednesday of every month.


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