Lapse in 3-Year Work History – Affidavit of Support

27 Aug 2019

“How many years of W-2s and tax returns are they looking for? My husband stopped working in 2016 because we planned to hold the wedding in the Philippines and he stayed for a few months in the Philippines then returned to work in 2017 and 2018. Are we required to write a letter of explanation what the reason was or why he didn’t work in 2016?”

This is an excellent question because we’re seeing a lot of RFEs, or request for evidence on financial documents. The minimum requirement as far as supporting documents is one year of tax returns and W-2s. But on the affidavit of support form itself, it asks for income for the last three years.

We’re finding that if you had, for example, earned zero dollars in 2016 – that is a red flag, and cause for RFE, a request for evidence. Even if you made really good money in 2017 and 2018. They’re looking for sustained income over a period of time. They want to ensure that you are not going to become a public charge and collect means-tested benefits. So, it really comes down to the discretion of the officer that’s conducting the interview or reviewing your case. We’ve seen some cases go through and they didn’t receive an RFE letter, but recently we’re seeing more RFEs on affidavit of support and supporting documents than we ever have.

So, to summarize, if you do not have three years of income, be prepared to either provide assets in lieu of income, or be prepared to get a joint sponsor.

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