If you’re immigrating to the United States on a family-based green card, you may need to have your relative file USCIS’s Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, on your behalf. This form shows that your relative has sufficient funds to sponsor your immigration to the U.S.
If you’re unsure which form you should use, learn the difference between forms I-134 and I-864. Once you’re ready, you may wonder how your sponsor can meet the income requirements. The evidence provided should show that your sponsoring relative is sufficiently above the federal poverty guideline.
Eligibility for Sponsoring the Immigration of a Foreign Relative
A sponsor needs to show that their income is at least 125% of the federal poverty guideline. You can see in the chart below the number of people in a household, the guideline, and then 125% of that guideline.
|People in Household||Active duty Sponsors in U.S. Armed forces||All Other Sponsors|
*This chart only applies to residents of the contiguous 48 states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.
This means that in order for someone with a household of four people to sponsor you, they would have to make at least $30,375. Sponsors who are members of the American military only need to match the federal poverty guideline. So, a member of the Army with a household of four people can sponsor you if they make at least $24,300 a year.
Why Is There an Income Requirement When Sponsoring a Relative?
The reason why an income requirement exists is to prevent new arrivals to the country from becoming what is known as a “public charge.” In other words, the government doesn’t want anyone immediately going on welfare or other forms of public aid the minute they arrive.
The Affidavit of Support essentially acts as a contract that guarantees you will support your relatives financially. If they do end up taking any government financial assistance, you are obligated to pay back whatever aid they use.
What Other Requirements are There for the Affidavit of Support Income?
Essentially, the more financially stable you are, the better chances you have of your sponsorship getting approved. But aside from the financial requirements, you need to be:
- 18 years or older
- Currently residing in the U.S.
- A lawful permanent resident or citizen of the
In addition, the USCIS will also consider other holistic aspects of yourself, such as your educational background, the type of job you hold, your insurance coverages, the property and assets you own, and other criteria.
What If I Can’t Meet the Financial Requirements?
If you can’t meet the financial requirements set by the USCIS, that doesn’t mean you have no options. You can always apply with a joint sponsor to help you prove that you can cover the financial costs. The joint sponsor doesn’t have to be related to you or the person you’re sponsoring.
There is also another way to meet the financial requirements if you cannot find a joint sponsor. Other family members can pool together money to help show that you’re financially able to support the relatives you’re trying to bring to the U.S.
What If My Tax Returns Don’t Show My New Income?
Say, for example, that your previous years’ tax returns aren’t reflective of your current financial situation. You recently got promoted, or you moved on to a higher-paying job, but you haven’t filed a tax return to show that.
You can still prove on your Affidavit of Support income that you meet the requirements. All you would need to do is provide additional evidence, such as:
- Employment verification letter
- Pay stubs from the past six months
- Evidence of other sources of income such as alimony, child support, etc.
As long as you can document and prove that you meet the requirements, you don’t have to worry too much about what your previous tax returns state.
How Long Will It Take to Process My Affidavit of Support Income?
Submitting the Affidavit of Support income through Form I-864 is only one part of the entire process of sponsoring a relative to come to the U.S. and obtain a green card. The whole green card process will take several months and even a year or more. This particular part of the process of proving income will only take roughly six weeks.