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Immigration Lawyer Chicago/ Immigration Forms for U.S. Citizenship, Naturalization, and Admission/ Form I-864P Understanding the Poverty Guidelines for Sponsorship
Are you ready to bring your family to the United States on a family-based visa? Before you start making plans, it’s essential to know that the U.S. government requires the sponsoring relative (the family member that already resides in the U.S.) to prove that they have the financial resources to support their family once they arrive in the U.S.
The United States requires immigrants to be financially stable to ensure that they will not become a burden on the country’s social services and welfare system. By requiring sponsors to demonstrate their ability to support the applicant (the family member joining the sponsor in the U.S.) and any dependents, the U.S. government can be confident that immigrants can meet their basic needs while in the country.
Form I-864P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support, is a document issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that provides poverty guidelines to complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
The poverty guidelines are based on the federal poverty thresholds developed by the Census Bureau and used to determine eligibility for specific federal assistance programs. The poverty thresholds are based on the cost of a basic needs budget for a family of a specific size and are adjusted for inflation each year.
Essentially, the sponsor should be able to provide for their family member by meeting or exceeding the poverty guidelines.
The difference between the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) and Form I-864P is that the Affidavit of Support is the actual legal document the sponsor must complete. In contrast, Form I-864P is a separate reference document that provides poverty guidelines to be used in conjunction with the Affidavit of Support. While it’s referred to as a form, it isn’t something you have to fill out.
To determine the income needed to sponsor a family member, you will need first to determine the size of your household, which includes yourself, your spouse (if you are married), and any dependents you have.
Then, your income will need to be 125% of the poverty guidelines. For example, if the federal poverty level for a family of four is $27,750 (in 2022), your income must be $34,687. The amount will vary based on your family size, location, and whether or not you’re in the military. This is why Form I-864P is important for completing your Affidavit of Support.
It’s important to note that the requirements differ for sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who petition for their spouse or child. For these cases, the sponsor’s income must be at least 100% of the poverty guidelines.
To calculate your income for an affidavit of support, you must add all your taxable and non-taxable income from all sources, including wages, salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, and self-employment income.
Here’s an example of calculating income:
Adding all of these sources together would be an annual income of $43,500.
If your income does not meet the requirements for sponsoring an immigrant, you can use assets to cover any shortfall between your income and the required poverty guideline.
Assets could be cash, savings and checking accounts, stocks and bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), and property that can be converted to cash relatively quickly.
To figure out how much you need in assets, subtract your household income from the minimum income requirement. You’ll need to show that the cash value of your assets is worth at least five times this difference (the amount left over).
Let’s say that the minimum income requirement for your household size is $34,687 per year and your household income is $20,000 per year. To figure out how much you need in assets to meet the financial requirement for sponsorship, you would subtract your household income from the minimum income requirement:
$34,687 – $20,000 = $14,687
This means you have a difference of $14,687 between your household income and the minimum income requirement. To meet the financial requirement for sponsorship, you’ll need to show that the cash value of your assets is worth at least five times this difference:
$14,685 x 5 = $73,425
So, in this example, you would need to show that the cash value of your assets is at least $73,425 to meet the financial requirement for sponsorship.
If your income and assets still don’t meet the requirements, you may consider enlisting a joint sponsor to help meet the financial requirements. A joint sponsor can use their income and assets to support your family member’s immigration application.
To act as a joint sponsor, an individual must meet the same requirements as a primary sponsor. This includes being at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or national or a permanent resident, and having sufficient income or assets to support the immigrant and any dependents. The joint sponsor must also complete and sign Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, and provide evidence of their income and assets.
A joint sponsor does not need to be related to the immigrant. Still, they must demonstrate that they have the financial ability to support the immigrant and any dependents. The joint sponsor’s income and assets will be considered in addition to those of the primary sponsor when determining the immigrant’s eligibility for a visa.
So, for example, if your income is $20,000 and your joint sponsor’s income is $20,000, then together your income is $40,000 which would be more than enough to meet the minimum requirement for a four-person household in 2022-2023 ($34,687)
If you are applying to join your family and become a permanent resident in the U.S., you will need a financial sponsor. You’ll also need a sponsor if you work for a relative or if a relative owns 5% or more of the company you plan to work at.
However, some categories of immigrants are exempt from the Affidavit of Support requirement:
If you’re looking to immigrate to the United States, the Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. team can help make the process as smooth as possible. Our experienced immigration lawyers are well-versed in the requirements for Form I-864P and the Affidavit of Support and can help ensure that your application is completed accurately and thoroughly. With our help, you can feel confident that you are taking the necessary steps to secure a successful outcome for your immigration case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by filling out our online form or calling (312) 444-1940.