Marriage Green Card Income Requirements Explained

How to determine the sponsor’s minimum income requirements?

Determining the sponsor’s minimum income requirements for a marriage-based green card involves understanding the guidelines set by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The sponsor, usually the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, needs to meet the minimum income threshold to demonstrate their ability to financially support the intending immigrant. Here’s a general process to determine the sponsor’s minimum income requirements:

  • Identify the Poverty Guidelines: The USCIS uses the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines to establish the minimum income requirements. These guidelines vary based on household size and location.
  • Determine Household Size: The sponsor’s household size includes themselves, their spouse (if applicable), any dependents, and the intending immigrant(s) they’re sponsoring. Count all individuals for whom the sponsor is responsible in terms of support.
  • Review Poverty Guidelines: Visit the USCIS website or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website to find the most up-to-date Poverty Guidelines. These guidelines provide the annual income thresholds based on household size and location.
  • Calculate Required Income: Compare your household size to the relevant Poverty Guideline for your location. The sponsor’s income should exceed the Poverty Guideline for their household size to meet the minimum income requirement.
  • Consider Household Members’ Income: In some cases, the income of other members of the sponsor’s household can be included to meet the requirement. This could be the sponsor’s spouse, dependents, or other individuals living with them who are willing to sign an affidavit of support (Form I-864A).
  • Provide Documentation: The sponsor needs to provide documentation to prove their income, such as tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, and employment verification letters. If relying on assets or investments, relevant documentation must also be provided.
  • Factor in Additional Considerations: If the sponsor’s income doesn’t meet the requirement, they can use assets to make up the difference. The total value of assets must be at least five times the difference between their income and the required income. Assets can include savings, real estate, stocks, and more. The specific guidelines for using assets can be found in Form I-864P, Poverty Guidelines.
  • Complete the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): The sponsor needs to complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, which is a legally binding contract stating their intent to financially support the intending immigrant. This form includes information about the sponsor’s income, assets, and other relevant details.
  • File the Affidavit of Support: The sponsor and the intending immigrant need to submit the completed Form I-864 along with the immigrant visa application or adjustment of status application.

It’s important to note that immigration laws and requirements can change, so it’s advisable to refer to the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure you have the most up-to-date and accurate information for your specific situation.

How to fill out an Affidavit of Support?

Filling out the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is a crucial step in the process of sponsoring an intending immigrant for a marriage-based green card or certain family-sponsored visas. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fill out the form:

Note: The instructions provided here are a general overview. Always refer to the official USCIS instructions and guidelines for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

  • Download the Form: Download the most current version of Form I-864 from the USCIS website.
  • Gather Required Information: Before you start filling out the form, gather the necessary information and documents, including tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, proof of assets, and any other financial documentation.
  • Section 1: Sponsor’s Information:
    • Provide your full legal name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number (or Alien Registration Number).
    • Indicate if you have filed an income tax return in the last three years.
  • Section 2: Principal Immigrant’s Information:
    • Provide the full legal name, address, and Alien Registration Number (if applicable) of the intending immigrant.
  • Section 3: Household Size:
    • List the number of people who are part of your household, including yourself, dependents, and any other sponsored immigrants on the same Form I-864.
  • Section 4: Select the Appropriate Poverty Guideline:
    • Choose the appropriate Poverty Guideline based on the number of people in your household and the state you reside in.
  • Section 5: Income:
    • Provide your total income from your most recent federal income tax return.
    • If you’re relying on current income, provide information about your current employment, including employer name, address, job title, and income.
    • If you’re including the income of other household members, provide their information and explain how their income contributes to the household’s financial support.
  • Section 6: Assets:
    • If your income doesn’t meet the requirement, you can use your assets to meet the minimum financial requirement.
    • List the value of your assets, such as savings accounts, real estate, stocks, and bonds.
    • Provide evidence of the value of your assets, such as bank statements, property appraisals, or investment statements.
  • Section 7: Contract:
    • Review the contract terms and responsibilities. By signing the form, you are legally obligating yourself to financially support the sponsored immigrant(s) and repay any means-tested public benefits they receive.
  • Section 8: Contact Information:
    • Provide your daytime telephone number and email address.
  • Section 9: Interpreter’s Contact Information:
    • If someone helped you fill out the form, they can provide their contact information here.
  • Sign and Date: Sign and date the form at the bottom of Page 7.
  • Checklist and Submission:
    • Review the checklist on Page 8 to ensure you’ve completed all required sections and included necessary documents.
    • Make a copy of the completed form and all supporting documents for your records.
    • Submit the original form and documents as instructed by the USCIS, either with the immigrant visa application or the adjustment of status application.

Remember that the Affidavit of Support is a legally binding document, and providing accurate and truthful information is essential. If you have any doubts or concerns, consider consulting with an immigration attorney or legal expert to ensure you complete the form correctly and meet the necessary requirements.

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