In order for any person to qualify as a sponsor (petitioner, joint sponsor, or substitute sponsor), they must demonstrate that their income is at least 125% of the current federal poverty guideline of their household size.
However, if you are on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, and you are sponsoring your spouse or minor child, an income of only 100% of the federal poverty guidelines is necessary for your household size. This provision does not apply to joint or substitute sponsors. To qualify, you must provide evidence that you are a active duty member in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Receipts of means-tested public benefits does not disqualify anyone from being a sponsor. However, these benefits cannot be accepted as income for the purpose of meeting the income requirement.
Evidence of Income
For the purposes of this affidavit, the line for the gross (total) income on IRS Forms 1040 and 1040A will be considered when determining income. For persons filling IRS Form 1040 EZ, the line for adjusted gross income will be considered.
If your claimed income includes alimony, child support, dividend or interest income, welfare, or income from any other source, you may also include evidence of that income.
This income can be individually earned or retirement annual income. You may also include evidence supporting your claim about your expected income for the current year if you believe that submitting this evidence will help you establish the ability to maintain a sufficient income. You are not required to submit it unless specifically instructed to do so by a government official. Such evidence may include a recent letter from your employer on business stationery showing your employer’s address, phone number, beginning date of employment, type of work performed, and an indication of your annual salary.
Sample employment letter
You must also provide evidence of current employment for any person whose income is used to qualify.
You may alternatively provide pay stubs showing your income from the six previous months.
Inability to Meet Income Requirements
If you are currently employed and have an individual income that meets or exceeds 125 percent of the Federal poverty line (or 100 percent, if applicable) for your household size, you do not need to list the income of any other person.
However, if your income alone is not sufficient to meet the requirements of your household size, it can be met using any of the following combinations:
- Household Members
Income from any relatives or dependents living in your household or dependents listed on your most recent federal tax return who are at least 18 years of age and willing to sign a Form I-864A. These household members are willing to be jointly responsible for the sponsorship. Relatives can be your spouse, adult child, parent, or sibling living in your residence. Their proof of residency in your household and relationship to you must be submitted.
If you have any unrelated dependents listed on your income tax return, you may include their income irrespective of where they live.
A sponsor may not rely on a household member’s income from illegal activities, such as proceeds from illegal gambling or drug sales, to meet the income requirements, even if the household member paid taxes on that income.
A Form I-864A is jointly completed by two individuals: the petitioning sponsor and the household member. The combined signing of this form constitutes an agreement that the household member and sponsor are both responsible for the support of the individual(s) named in this form. A separate Form I-864A must be used for each household member whose income and/or assets are being used by a sponsor to qualify. The Form I-864A must be submitted simultaneously with Form I-864.
The signatures on a Form I-864A must be notarized by a notary public or signed in front of an immigration or consular officer.
- Income from the intending immigrant
Income from the intending immigrant can be used if that income will continue to come from the same source after immigration, and if the intending immigrant is currently living in your residence.
If the intending immigrant is your spouse, his or her income can be counted regardless of current residence, but it must continue from the same source after he or she becomes a lawful permanent resident. Evidence of the same source of income must be provided.
If the intending immigrant is any other relative, the income must continue from the same source after he or she obtains lawful permanent resident status. Additionally, the intending immigrant must currently live with you in your residence. Evidence to support both requirements is required.
However, an intending immigrant in this case does not need to complete a Form I-864A, unless they have a spouse and/or children immigrating with him or her. In this instance, the contract relates to supporting the spouse and/or children.
The value of your assets, assets of any household member who has signed a Form I-864A, or assets of the intending immigrant.
- Joint Sponsor
A joint sponsor whose income and/or assets equal at least 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
The government may pursue verification of any information provided and used in support of this form including employment, income, assets with the employer, financial or other institutions, or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Totality of Financial Situation
Even when given the contractual nature of the I-864, affidavit of support, and the prohibition of use of most federal means-tested public benefits to most aliens, consular officers still need to look beyond a “sufficient” affidavit of support for other public charge issues. Section 212(a)(4)(B) lists the factors a consular officer should take into consideration when making public charge determinations. An affidavit of support, Form I-864, is only one of the factors to be considered. Consular officers will continue to consider the totality of the sponsor’s and applicant’s financial situation to confirm to the furthest extent possible that the applicant will have adequate financial support and a low probability of becoming a public charge. This includes looking at the age, health, education, skills, financial resources, and family status of the applicant and sponsor.
Employment Offer in Lieu of Income
A credible offer of employment for the visa applicant cannot replace or supplement an insufficient affidavit of support. The law does not make any provision for the consideration of offers of employment in lieu of the I-864. Similarly, an offer of employment may not be counted in reaching the 125 percent minimum income threshold. Such an offer can be solely be taken into account when assessing the applicant’s ability to overcome any public charge of grounds of inadmissibility.
Poverty Guidelines Changes
If the poverty guidelines change between the time the petitioner signed the I-864 and approval of an immigrant visa, the petitioner/sponsor does not need to submit a new I-864. As long as the I-864 was submitted to a consular officer within one year of the date it was signed, a new I-864 is not required. The evaluation will be made based on the poverty guidelines in effect on the date of filing of the I-864.
If you receive housing and other tangible benefits in place of salary, you may count those benefits as income. You may count income that is not subject to taxation, such as a housing allowance for clergy or military personnel, as well as taxable income.
You would have to prove the nature and amount of any income that is not included as wages or salary or other taxable income. It can be shown through notations on the W-2 Form (such as Box 13 for military allowances), Form 1099, or other documents that show the claimed income.
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