Is there a minimum age to be a sponsor?
Yes, and the minimum age is 18.
Does the sponsor have to live in the United States?
A sponsor must usually live in the United States, or its territories or possessions. However, a sponsor working for any of the following is considered to be domiciled in the United States:
- The U.S. government.
- An American institution of research recognized by the Secretary of Homeland Security (The list of qualifying institutions may be found at 8 CFR 316.20).
- A U.S. firm or corporation engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce with the United States, or a subsidiary of such a firm or corporation.
- A public international organization in which the United States participates by treaty or statute.
- A religious denomination having a bona fide organization in the United States, if the employment abroad involves the person’s performance of priestly or ministerial functions on behalf of the denomination.
- A religious denomination or interdenominational missionary organization having a bona fide organization in the United States, if the person is engaged solely as a missionary.
If you are not currently living in the United States but will return, you must show that your trip abroad is temporary and that you have maintained your domicile in the United States.
You can also be a sponsor if you intend in good faith to reestablish your domicile in the United States no later than the date of the intending immigrant’s admission or adjustment of status.
If my joint sponsor is in the military, are the income requirements reduced to 100%?
No. A military member who sponsors his own spouse or child can use the reduced income requirement, which is 100% of the poverty level instead of 125%. But this does not apply to joint sponsors.
Can a permanent resident (green card holder) be a sponsor?
What if I don’t meet the income requirements?
If your income is not adequate you can use one or more of the following:
- Income from any relatives or dependents living in your household or dependents listed on your most recent Federal tax return who signed a Form I-864A.
- Income from the intending immigrant, if that income will continue 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.
- The value of your assets, the assets of any household member who has signed a Form I-864A, or the assets of the intending immigrant.
- A joint sponsor whose income and/or assets equal at least 125 percent of the Poverty Guidelines. See question below for more information on joint sponsors.
My children do not live with me. Do I count them in my household size?
Any children under 21 who are dependent on you must be included in your household size, even if they don’t live with you.
Can My Relatives and Dependents Help Me Meet the Income Requirements?
You may use the income of your spouse and/or any other relatives living in your residence if they are willing to be jointly responsible with you for the intending immigrants you are sponsoring. If you have any unrelated dependents listed on your income tax return you may include their income regardless of where they reside.
The income of such household members and dependents can be used to help you meet the income requirements if they complete and sign Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, and if they are at least 18 years of age when they sign the form.
Can the Affidavit of Support be hand-written?
Yes. Use black ink only.
It is my Gross or Net income that must meet the requirement?
Your gross income.
Do I need to provide my last 3 tax returns?
You must provide either an IRS transcript or a photocopy from your own records of your Federal individual income tax return for the most recent tax year. If you believe additional returns may help you to establish your ability to maintain sufficient income, you may submit transcripts or photocopies of your Federal individual income tax returns for the three most recent years. But only the most recent year is required.
You are not required to have the IRS certify the transcript or photocopy unless specifically instructed to do so by a Government official; a plain transcript or photocopy is acceptable.
Do not submit copies of your State income tax returns. Do not submit any tax returns that you filed with any foreign government unless you claim that you were not required to file a Federal tax return with the United States government and you wish to rely on the foreign return solely to establish the amount of your income that is not subject to tax in the United States.
What if I didn’t file a tax return last year?
If you were required to file a Federal income tax return during any of the previous three tax years but did not do so, you must file any and all late returns with IRS and attach an IRS-generated tax return transcript documenting your late filing before submitting the I-864 Affidavit of Support.
If you were not required to file a Federal income tax return under U.S. tax law because your income was too low, attach a written explanation.
If you were not required to file a Federal income tax return under U.S. tax law for any other reason, attach a written explanation including evidence of the exemption and how you are subject to it. Residence outside of the United States does not exempt U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from filing a U.S. Federal income tax return.
Can I also use the income from my second job to help meet the requirements?
Yes, you can include your verifiable income from all sources. If your primary job is not enough, you can take on a part-time job to supplement your income.
Can I use my car as an asset?
You may not include an automobile unless you show that you own at least one working automobile that you have not included.
Am I still obligated if the spouse I sponsored divorces me?
Do I have to notify somebody if I move after completing an Affidavit of Support?
Federal law requires that every sponsor report every change of address to the USCIS within 30 days of the change. To do this, send a completed Form I-865, Sponsor’s Change of Address, to the Service Center having jurisdiction over your new address.
Do I Need to Submit a Separate Affidavit for Each Family Member?
You must submit an affidavit of support for each intending immigrant you are sponsoring. You may submit photocopies if you are sponsoring more than one intending immigrant listed on the same affidavit of support.
Often a spouse or minor children obtain visas or adjust status as dependents of a relative, based on the same visa petition. If you are sponsoring such dependents, you only need to provide a photocopy of the original Form I-864, as long as these dependents are immigrating at the same time as the principal immigrant or within six months of the time he or she immigrates to the United States. You do not need to provide copies of the supporting documents for each of the photocopied affidavit of support.
What Is a Substitute Sponsor?
A substitute sponsor is a sponsor who is completing a Form I-864 on behalf of an intending immigrant whose original I-130 petitioner has died after the Form I-130 was approved, but before the intending immigrant obtained permanent residence.
What evidence do I need to prove my income, other than tax returns?
Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits, identifying the following details regarding the account:
- Date account opened
- Total amount deposited for the past year
- Present balance
- Statement(s) of your employer on business stationery showing:
- Date and nature of employment
- Salary paid
- Whether the position is temporary or permanent
- Copy of last income tax return filed or
- Report of commercial rating concern
How Long Does My Obligation as a Sponsor Continue?
Your obligation to support the immigrant(s) you are sponsoring will continue until the sponsored immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work in the United States (about 10 years). Divorce does not end this obligation.
Who qualifies to be a joint sponsor?
A joint sponsor can be any U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident who is at least 18 years old, domiciled in the United States, or its territories or possessions, and willing to be held jointly liable with the petitioner for the support of the intending immigrant. A joint sponsor does not have to be related to the petitioning sponsor or the intending immigrant.
Who is required to have an Affidavit of Support?
All intending immigrants need and Affidavit of Support except the following:
- Any intending immigrant who has earned or can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters (credits) of work in the United States. In addition to their own work, intending immigrants may be able to secure credit for work performed by a spouse during marriage and by their parent(s) while the immigrants were under 18 years of age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can provide information on how to count quarters of work earned or credited and how to provide evidence of such. See the SSA website at www.ssa.gov/mystatement/credits for more information.
- Any intending immigrant who will, upon admission, acquire U.S. citizenship under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA).
- Self-petitioning widow/ers who have an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-360.
- Self-petitioning battered spouses and children who have an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-360.
Can the Intending Immigrant Help Me Meet the Income Requirements?
If certain conditions are met, the intending immigrant’s income can help you meet the income requirement. If the intending immigrant is your spouse, his or her income can be included if it will continue from the same source after he or she obtains lawful permanent resident status. If the intending immigrant is another relative, there are two requirements.
First, the income must be continuing from the same source after he or she obtains lawful permanent resident status, and second, the intending immigrant must currently live with you in your residence. Evidence must be provided to support both requirements.
However, an intending immigrant whose income is being used to meet the income requirement does not need to complete Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, unless the intending immigrant has a spouse and/or children immigrating with him or her. In this instance, the contract relates to support for the spouse and/or children.
Can I use assets to qualify?
Assets may supplement income if the consular or immigration officer is convinced that the monetary value of the asset could reasonably be made available to support the sponsored immigrant and converted to cash within one year without undue harm to the sponsor or his or her family members. You may not include an automobile unless you show that you own at least one working automobile that you have not included. Assets only count as 1/3 for a U.S. citizen sponsoring a spouse or child, or 1/5 for everybody else.
Can I use the Social Security or other income of my child to help me qualify?
You can’t use the income of any person who is under 18 to help you qualify, including your children.