MY INCOME ISN’T ENOUGH FOR AN AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT.
For better or for worse, immigrants coming into the United States are required to be able to financially support themselves. Usually, a sponsor takes on the role of providing that support if it becomes necessary. In this case, the help of USCIS and an American (most likely, but not necessarily, a family member) is vital. Hence, the need for an affidavit of support (Form I-864).
What Is An Affidavit Of Support(Form I-864)?
An affidavit of support is a contract between the U.S. government and a sponsor. By signing this contract, you agree to support the intending immigrant with your financial resources at a certain level if it becomes necessary. Naturally, you become the sponsor after signing the contract. While there are other ways to support an intending immigrant, and even another type of affidavit of support, here, the “affidavit of support” refers only to Form I-864.
By filing form I-864, you become responsible for supporting an aspiring American when he/she becomes a permanent resident, or green card holder. Note: this does not mean the sponsor must pay the intending immigrant’s bills! However, the sponsor does undertake the obligation to ensure that the intending immigrant does not become a “public charge” – someone who takes means-tested public benefits such as food stamps. In this light, it’s better called an agreement between the U.S. government, the sponsor, and the immigrant. This agreement covers that you (the sponsor) are willing to support the immigrant, and share your resources with them.
While this is ordinarily a very simple ordeal, it has a tricky part to it. To the U.S. government, your assets and resources will be available to the permanent resident. However, if you fail to financially support the immigrant, you may be sued for the value of benefits the intending immigrant has taken.
The responsibilities of a sponsor last until:
- The aspiring citizen becomes a U.S. citizen
- The sponsored immigrant or sponsor dies
- The immigrant completes about 10 years of work (40 quarters) in the United States
- It's most noteworthy that the sponsor's obligations continue even if the parties in a marriage divorce.
So, there you have it. These conditions are exactly why you should ensure you’re financially stable enough before sponsoring an immigrant. That being said, not everyone is eligible to be sponsors. To get your affidavit of support(Form I-864) approved, you need to meet the following criteria:
- You must be a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Your income must be at least 125% of HHS poverty guidelines for your household size.
- If you’re in the military, your income must be at least 100% of HHS poverty guidelines.
My Income Isn’t Enough For An Affidavit Of Support(Form I-864)
Imagine trying to fill Form I-864 (affidavit of support) for a family member, or a friend. You have somehow managed to fulfill all requirements to become eligible as a sponsor. And just when the moment arrived to gain approval, you get rejected – On the count that your income isn’t enough. This scenario playing out is sure to leave a taste of disappointment.
Rejecting your form like this is an action that has you, and the U.S. in consideration. The affidavit of support(Form I-864) is intended to ensure that aspiring Americans don’t become a burden to the United States. So, if you don’t meet the minimum income for an affidavit of support, there is no guarantee that you would be able to support the immigrant.
That being said, things like this are just too important to give up on. If your income isn't enough for an affidavit of support, there are alternatives that would allow you to meet sponsorship requirements. They include:
Get A Joint Sponsor
If your income isn’t enough for an affidavit of support, then you should get a joint sponsor. A joint sponsor who meets all requirements may fill form I-864 and sponsor the intended immigrant. Despite this, you (the petitioning sponsor) still need to file Form I-864 – even if your income is zero.
So here is everything you need to know about getting a joint sponsor:
- Naturally, a joint sponsor must be able to take on the obligation of a petitioning sponsor with you. That is, the obligation of supporting your family member or friend.
- While this seems like a backdoor, you cannot get a joint sponsor if you meet the income requirements for form I-864.
- A joint sponsor must be an individual, and not an organization or corporation.
- You can have only two joint sponsors, at most.
- Your joint sponsor must meet all requirements for form I-864 on his/her own.
- Even if you get a joint sponsor, you are still legally responsible for supporting the immigrant, and the liability is “joint and several,” meaning if a public benefit is taken by the immigrant, the US government agency can sue you for the full amount, or the joint sponsor for the full amount, or both of you together for the full amount.
Getting a joint sponsor is one way, but another way to qualify for form I-864 is by using assets. To do this, you may need to:
- Submit evidence of the value of your assets
- Evidence of the aspiring immigrant’s assets
- Provide evidence of a household member's assets.
Get Your Affidavit Of Support(Form I-864) Approved.
If you’re still hitting a wall even after considering these alternatives, then contact us to get further assistance
At the HMA Law Firm, we take on the practice of directly facing our clients' problems. Write-ups might be helpful, but not as much as a professional intervention.
Reuniting people with their families is what we do at the HMA Law Firm. Whether you meet the criteria or not, jump on a call and discuss your goals with us.
Everyone needs family or friends, no matter where they go. We will leave no stone unturned to help you reunite with your loved ones.
Hassan M. Ahmad, Esq.