What’s the Cost? Video 2: Consular Process

Hopefully you have already had the opportunity to review the introductory video. That video reviews the three categories of expenses, and many important details that we are not going to review now.

In talking about the cost of obtaining permanent residence, one detail that greatly impacts the answer is whether you are eligible for adjustment of status or if you has to go through consular process. 

Another video will address details such as how to determine which path is available to you, what steps to take in that process, how long it takes each step, etc. In this video, we are going to focus on expenses for those that need to go through the consular process.

Using the three categories of expenses – government fees, attorneys fees, and miscellaneous fees – let’s dive in.

Government fees:

  • The family petition costs $535 to file.
  • The immigrant visa application processing fee is $325.
  • The affidavit of support fee is $120.
  • And finally, the USCIS immigrant fee is $220.

This gives us a total of $1,200 in government fees.

Attorney’s fees:

This varies in terms of how much is charged, and when it is charged. Some attorneys divide the fees into two stages, which coincide with the two stages of the consular process. But generally, you can expect the total to range between $4,000 and $6,000 for one person’s consular process. 

Miscellaneous expenses. What can we expect. 

  • Throughout this process, you will need to submit several passport-type photos.
  • You will need to scan and photocopy numerous documents.
  • You will need to request originals or certified copies of certain required documents.
  • It will be necessary to request police certificates for at least one country, and possibly more than one country.
  • A medical exam is necessary, and possibly two, depending on how much time passes between your medical exam and your interview. Each medical examination must be done with a specific doctor approved by immigration, and the price will vary greatly depending on the country in which you are. But if you set aside or anticipate between $200 and $500, that should generally be enough. In certain countries or certain medical offices, it may cost much less, and possibly more. (Just so you know, there is a way to check the exact cost.)
  • You may have to pay for personal delivery of documents, either from you to your lawyer, or from your lawyer to you, or to the family member outside of the United States.
  • You will also have to consider the time you will take off from work to prepare applications, to collect and organize documents, and for the interview itself.
  • When the time comes for your interview, you will have to consider the travel expense from your home to the consulate or embassy.
  • If you don’t have somewhat formal attire, you may want to buy something to wear for the interview.
  • Finally, if all goes well, the family member abroad will travel to the United States, and in some cases will have to leave the United States to complete the process, and the cost of that travel obviously must be contemplated as well. 

I know this is a lot of information. Feel free to rewatch the video as many times as you need. But remember, you don’t have to do any of this alone! At IMI Law, we can help with this, and much more. Feel free to reach out: 860-263-9126.

Thank you for your attention. Send us any questions, and stay tuned for the next video. 

What’s the Cost? Video 1: Three Categories

Here it is: the first video in “What’s the Cost?” — the first video series presented by IMI Law. Stay informed, and stay tuned for the next video. Give the Facebook page a like so you don’t miss it!

Ask any lawyer a broad question and there’s a good chance the answer will be “it depends.” In immigration law, with the question “what’s the cost,” we’re not safe from the same unhelpful answer. Since it all depends, we’ll review the general answers, one topic per video. 

Welcome to the first video in the series “What’s the Cost?”

When we talk about the cost of an immigration case, there are three categories of costs: attorneys fees, for those hiring an attorney; government fees, mostly in the form of filing fees; and the general category of miscellaneous expenses. 

First, attorneys fees. These vary greatly, depending on what part of the country (or world) you’re in, whether you live in a city like Los Angeles or in a more rural area. It depends on the type of case you have and on how quickly or how slowly that particular process moves. 

It varies depending on the type of lawyer you have as well. That is, if you are represented by a nonprofit organization, it is likely your case will be taken free of charge, known as pro bono. If you’re represented by a private firm, it is very unlikely that your case will be taken pro bono, and even within the category of private practice, the costs can vary greatly as well. It is not a bad idea to speak with more than one immigration attorney before hiring an attorney. On the one hand, this allows you to see who you feel most comfortable with, and it also allows you to get a sense of how much it will cost to have that office represent you. 

Now, the second category: government fees. Again, this primarily consists of filing fees. Filing fees vary depending on the type of application you want to file, and you can expect them to increase over time. This is important to note because perhaps you know one person who paid a certain amount five years ago, and now you’re being told that the same application costs more. There are few waivers available for some applications, but not all of them, and in certain cases it might negatively impact your case to request these waivers. 

The third category is of miscellaneous expenses. This includes transportation costs to get to the lawyers office, or to the immigration office. It also includes the cost to send documents, to make photocopies, to request copies of official documents, to translate documents, to notarize documents, to buy Money Orders or certified checks, to send money, etc. etc.

In many immigration processes, you will need to get a medical exam, and this price varies greatly depending on the country in which you are located. For people who are in the United States, you already know that everything that has to do with physical health is expensive.

This category also includes expenses such as buying formal clothes to wear to an interview, as well as the economic effect of requesting a day off from work to be able to attend to the different aspects of your case. Certain aspects of the process require you to bring your own interpreter, and using a family member is often prohibited. In these cases there are many people who end up having to hire an interpreter, and that represents an additional expense. 

At the end of the day, when we talk about how much an immigration case costs, it is not simply a matter of how much the government charges to receive and review the application, nor is it limited to what the lawyer charges, nor to what is explicitly enumerated in the contract. There are many additional expenses, several of which can’t always be predicted with precision, and you are in a better position if you anticipate some of these possible expenses.

Thank you for your attention. Send us any questions, and stay tuned for the next video. 

New Video Series Introduction: “What’s the Cost?”

IMI Law introduces its first ever video series: “What’s the Cost?” These videos will go over the costs of some of the most common immigration applications and processes. Be sure to Like and Subscribe so you don’t miss out on these videos.

Introducing a new video series: “What’s the Cost?” These videos will go over the costs of some of the most common immigration applications and processes. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!

Posted by IMI Law on Friday, February 21, 2020