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THE AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT – FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SPONSORING AN IMMIGRANT RELATIVE

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U.S. Immigration has published new poverty guidelines for affidavit of support determinations for the year 2017. In this week’s article, I will be updating the financial income requirements for those who wish to sponsor an immigrant relative as well as adjusting an earlier email answer in order to coincide with the new 2017 guideline figures.

The Affidavit of Support Under INA Section 213A and the Poverty Guidelines

Each year, the Department of Health and Human Services publishes in the Federal Register an income-poverty guideline. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (USCIS) uses this guideline to determine whether or not a person has adequate means to financially support their relative and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support. This guideline basically lists the minimum amount of income a sponsor must make in order to sponsor their relative for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident (aka Green Card). As proof to show that you are qualified, you will be required to submit an Affidavit of Support form, information and documents regarding your last three years of Income Tax, as well as information regarding your household size. (Household size includes the sponsor themselves, the sponsor’s spouse if married, any dependents, and any lawful permanent residents that you previously submitted an affidavit of support form for and for whom you are currently still obligated to support). If the sponsor’s income does not meet the minimum income requirements as outlined in the income-poverty guideline, there are alternative ways to satisfy the requirements such as using a possible “Joint Sponsor”, supplemental assets, or another household member’s income. In some cases, you many also use the income of the intending immigrant. Please contact me for more information about these other possible ways.

A brief look at this year’s 2017 Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support:

Household Size     125% HHS Poverty Guideline (Minimum Income Required)*

             2                          $20,300

             3                          $25,525

             4                          $30,750

             5                          $35,975

*NOTE: These figures are for sponsors not on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, nor for those that live in Alaska or Hawaii. Also, for household sizes more than 5, please contact us for more information.

Now that I’ve briefly gone over the minimum income requirements of sponsoring your relative, here is an example of its application:

EXAMPLE

Q: “Khun Joey, I want to sponsor my parent’s for their green card. How do I know if I qualify?”

(Revised and Republished)

A: In general, whenever someone is asking for a green card based on family (also known as Family-based adjustment of status), that person or immigrant must be “sponsored”. In Khun Bok’s question, she is asking me if she qualifies to sponsor her parents so that they can get their green cards. Because she didn’t give me any other details, I have to assume certain things. I am going to assume that she is a US Citizen over the age of 21. The reason why I am assuming this is because in order to sponsor your parents for a green card (without a waiting period for immediate relatives), you must (1) be a United States citizen, either by birth or by Naturalization, (2) be at least 21 years of age, and (3) be financially able to sponsor them. The first two requirements are easy to determine; the third, not so much. I will explain requirement #3, which is probably the issue that Khun Bok is really asking me about.

Assuming requirements 1 and 2 are satisfied, we have to look at your financial circumstance in order to determine if you satisfy requirement #3. If all three of these requirements are satisfied, then you may qualify to sponsor your parents for their green card.

Given: Khon Bok’s wants to sponsor her mother and father for their green card. Let’s suppose that she is married, has no children, has never sponsored anyone else before and has no dependents on her most recent income tax. How much does she have to make in order to sponsor her mother and father?

According to the most recent 2017 Health and Human Services Poverty Guideline (I-864P), the minimum income requirements for use on the Affidavit of Support form are as follows:

Household Size     125% HHS Poverty Guideline (Minimum Income Req)*

             2                          $20,300

             3                          $25,525

             4                          $30,750

             5                          $35,975

*NOTE: These figures are for sponsors not on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, nor for those that live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Answer: Because she is sponsoring 2 people (her mother and father), her “household size” is herself, her husband, plus her mother and father = 4. Therefore, if you look at the list above, her reported income on the most recent-filed taxes must be at least $30,750. Again, as I mentioned above, even if she did not make this much, there are other ways to qualify. However, I would have to review the details of her case in order to give her a more specific answer.

I hope that this week’s article sheds light on the income requirements necessary to sponsor an immigrant relative for adjustment of status. Because the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revises their minimum support requirements annually, rest assured that I will be keeping you informed of these changes. And as always, if you have any questions still left unanswered or you have questions regarding other legal issues, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To schedule an appointment so that I can review the specifics of your case, please contact my office at (818) 846-5639 or my Thai assistant at (818) 505-4921. You can also find us on the internet in Thai and English at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.