Joint Sponsorship in Family-based Immigrant Petitions

February 9, 2016

“I don’t make enough money to sponsor my relative on my own”

As part of the immigrant visa application process, petitioners must demonstrate that they have sufficient income to sponsor their beneficiaries. The Department of Homeland Security utilizes the federal poverty guidelines to determine the minimum income level necessary according to a petitioner’s household size – at 125% of the poverty guidelines for most petitioners. Petitioners that don’t have sufficient income have some options – to use assets to make up for the shortfall in income, to use the income of household members willing to sign a Form I-864A Contract between Sponsor and Household Member, to use the income and assets of the intending immigrant under certain circumstances, or to use a joint sponsor that can independently show sufficient income. Joint sponsors that are prepared to sign a legally enforceable contract will be responsible for supporting the beneficiary in the same way as the petitioner: until the beneficiary becomes a U.S. citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters (10 years) of work. Important to note is that a joint sponsor and petitioner cannot combine their income to meet the minimum amount. The joint sponsor must independently meet the 125% income requirement.

The following individuals are required to submit an Affidavit of Support completed by their petitioner to obtain an immigrant visa or adjustment of status:

All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21) and relatives who qualify for immigration to the United States under one of the family based preferences:
1. First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (Adult means 21 years of age or older)
2. Second Preference: Spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of permanent residents and their unmarried children
3. Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their unmarried minor children
4. Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses and their unmarried minor children

If your relative is a K-1 fiancé (e), you do not need to submit an affidavit of support at the time you file your Form I-129F petition. Instead, you should submit an affidavit of support at the time that your fiancé (e adjusts status to permanent resident following marriage in the United States.

Working with an attorney can help make sure that an immigrant visa or adjustment of status application proceeds smoothly without delay in the form of a USCIS request for evidence. Evaluation of tax returns, assets and their cash values, and human resources documentation are all part of the service we offer our clients. Please contact us for a consultation.

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