A Guide to Moving to the US on a $15k Budget

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Published on 22 Nov 2023 Time to read 7 min read Last update on 16 Feb 2024

Embarking on a new chapter in the United States is a dream for many, yet the intricacies of relocation can be overwhelming. Whether enticed by career prospects, educational endeavors, or a desire for a change of scenery, navigating the complexities of moving to the U.S. demands meticulous planning and insight. In this all-encompassing guide, we reveal the keys to not only surviving but thriving on a budget of $15,000 or less. This guide will delve into the us visa cost for the EB-2 NIW visa, O-1 visa, and F-1 visa—three incredible opportunities for those aspiring to achieve the American dream. Providing a roadmap that covers financial considerations, legal aspects, and practical steps, we equip you with the knowledge needed for a successful transition into the opportunities that the U.S. has to offer.

Our guide is designed to empower individuals with the knowledge and insights needed to make informed decisions, whether you’re a budding professional, a student eager to expand your horizons, or someone looking for personal growth and adventure. Beyond the basics of frugal living, we delve into the various pathways available for work, study, and self-discovery, offering a nuanced understanding of the American experience.

Additionally, we shed light on a unique opportunity that can streamline your entry into the U.S.: the Visa Franchise Advantage. We’ll share with you how we can assist you in unlocking entrepreneurial opportunities that lead you to a prosperous future.

So, read on to discover the tools and insights you need to start your new chapter in the US with confidence and financial stability.

us visa cost

What is the EB-2 NIW US Visa Cost?

Choosing us for your American aspirations isn’t just about exploring possibilities; it’s strategically investing in a future teeming with opportunities. When evaluating the overall cost for an individual pursuing the EB-2 NIW visa through Visa Franchise, our transparent fee structure thoughtfully covers every critical aspect of the application process. This encompasses Visa Franchise Fees ranging from $3,700 to $9,700 and Attorney Fees fluctuating between $6,100 and $7,000, where each dollar allocated propels you closer to realizing your goals.

The comprehensive breakdown includes the I-140 Fee totaling $700, a Medical Exam incurring costs ranging from $200 to $500, a DS-260 Fee at $345, and an Immigrant Fee of $220.

In its entirety, the cost ranges from $11,565 to $18,445, positioning Visa Franchise not merely as a service provider but as a strategic and budget-friendly ally committed to transforming your aspirations into a thriving reality.

How much does an O-1 visa application typically cost

The O-1 Visa application process involves a series of steps, each accompanied by specific fees. The fundamental I-129 filing fee, amounting to $460, is a recurring cost applicable to every petition, including extensions and amendments. Additionally, the DS-160 filing fee stands at $190.

Additional Fees

Beyond these mandatory fees, several auxiliary costs may arise, such as travel expenses to and from the U.S. embassy or consulate, as well as the costs associated with traveling to the U.S. once the visa has been obtained. For those planning to bring their spouse or children to the U.S., an additional I-539 form must be filed, incurring a fee of $370. Upon submitting Form I-129, the employer can expect to receive a receipt notice confirming USCIS’s petition receipt, a biometric services notice if applicable, an interview notice if required, and finally, a notice of USCIS’s decision.

Notably, the optional Premium Processing service, with a fee of $2500, expedites the processing time. It’s crucial to factor in these costs, including attorney fees, when embarking on the O-1 Visa application journey.

How can we help you?

Through strategic collaborations with esteemed law firms boasting extensive legacies and a remarkable track record of assisting over 20,000 clients in the technology and entertainment sectors, we proudly offer our expertise to individuals aspiring to secure O-1 visas. These partnerships signify a fusion of knowledge, experience, and a shared commitment to empowering individuals with exceptional talents.

Navigating the O-1 visa process can be intricate, requiring a sponsor or business manager/agent. Our unique position allows us to oversee your U.S. work endeavors, providing unparalleled flexibility that goes beyond the constraints of a single employer. Let us shoulder the administrative burden of managing your visa process, paperwork, LinkedIn, and GitHub profiles, paving the way for recruiters to connect with you swiftly.

Our Differential

What sets our approach apart is our unwavering dedication to simplifying the relocation process, ensuring a seamless transition for individuals from every corner of the globe. We believe that the journey to achieving the American Dream should be characterized by support, guidance, and expertise. With us as your ally, obtaining visas is not just a process; it’s the beginning of a transformative journey toward a brighter future in the United States. Clients of Visa Franchise consistently report a remarkable increase in yearly income, often exceeding 100% in the first year!


What is Day 1 CPT?

Day 1 CPT, or Curricular Practical Training, is a program that allows international students in the United States to engage in off-campus employment from the first day of their academic program. This option is particularly popular among graduate students, providing an early opportunity to gain practical work experience in their field of study. While Day 1 CPT can offer valuable hands-on learning experiences, it’s important for students to be aware of the associated regulations and implications. The program is subject to strict guidelines set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and students should carefully navigate these rules to maintain compliance with their visa status.

As with any employment authorization, understanding the nuances and responsibilities associated with Day 1 CPT is crucial for international students seeking to enhance their academic journey with practical work experience in the U.S.

How much does a US F-1 visa cost?

Navigating the F1 Visa process with Day 1 CPT involves considering various costs crucial to international students seeking academic and practical experiences in the United States. Tuition costs per semester typically range from $3,000 to $5,480, varying across educational institutions.

Additionally, there are miscellaneous expenses such as application fees, visa deposits, and proof of English proficiency, which may collectively range from $59 to $900. Understanding and budgeting for these financial aspects is essential for international students planning to embark on their educational journey in the U.S. with the F1 Visa program and Day 1 CPT option.

Unless this option is chosen as one of the ways to live in the U.S. with less than $15,000, a key aspect for F1 Visa applicants is securing financial support, which ranges from $22,000 to $29,530 per year.

How can we Help You?

In partnership with Howell Management Services, we are committed to facilitating your success in pursuing Day 1 CPT opportunities. Our strategic collaboration extends to four distinguished partner universities—Ottawa University, Harrisburg University, Humphreys University, and National Louis University. These institutions collectively provide a diverse array of master’s and postgraduate programs designed to cater to the dynamic needs of students aspiring to leverage Day 1 CPT.

With a focus on academic excellence and practical experience, our collaborative efforts aim to empower individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in their chosen fields while navigating the intricacies of the U.S. immigration system. By choosing us, you’re not only accessing educational opportunities, but also unlocking the potential for a successful career and a fulfilling future in the United States.


In conclusion, embarking on a new chapter in the United States is a bold endeavor, and our all-encompassing guide aims to demystify the complexities of relocation, offering a roadmap for not just survival, but thriving on a budget of $15,000 or less. Whether you’re driven by career prospects, educational pursuits, or a thirst for personal growth, our guide provides a comprehensive understanding of services like the EB-2 NIW visa, O-1 visa, and F-1 visa—three incredible pathways to realizing the American dream.

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Mentioned visas

EB2-NIW (green card)

An employment-based visa intended for those who either have an advanced degrees or exceptional ability

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E2 Visa

An employment-based visa intended for those who either have an advanced degrees or exceptional ability

Learn more