Persons sponsoring a relative for a green card must submit an affidavit of support on their behalf. They must meet a minimum income level, called the Poverty Income Guidelines, in order to financially sponsor a visa applicant. The Poverty Income Guidelines in effect on the filing date of an Affidavit of Support are used to determine whether the income requirement is met.
The following chart shows the Poverty Income Guidelines which went into effect on March 1, 2020.
|Family Unit Size||Poverty Income Guidelines (125%) – 48 States, DC & US Territories||Poverty Income Guidelines (125%) – Alaska||Poverty Income Guidelines (125%) – Hawaii|
For each additional person in the 48 states, add $5,600.
For each additional person in Alaska, add $7,000.
For each additional person in Hawaii, add $6,437.
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How do I financially sponsor someone who wants to immigrate?
Under U.S. law, every person who immigrates based on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor.
If you choose to sponsor your relative’s immigration by filing a Form
I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, you must agree to be the financial
sponsor and file an affidavit of support when the time comes for
actual immigration. If you do not meet the financial qualifications at
that time, you still must file a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and
accept responsibility, but you and your relative also must find other
individuals who meet the requirements and are willing to make this
commitment by filing affidavits of support.
What is the purpose of the affidavit of support?
The affidavit of support helps ensure that new immigrants will not
need to rely on public benefits such as Food Stamps, Medicaid,
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance to
Needy Families. If a person for whom you file an affidavit of support
becomes a permanent resident and is later given certain public
benefits, the agency that gave the benefits can require that you
repay that money.
Who has to have an affidavit of support in order to immigrate?
Anyone applying to be a permanent resident through a family
member must have a financial sponsor. A sponsor is also required for
a family member coming to work for a relative, or for a company in
which a relative owns 5 percent or more of the company.
The person filing the petition sponsoring the person’s immigration
must file an affidavit of support. If he or she does not, then their
sponsorship is not complete, and the person will not be given
permission to immigrate based on that petition.
What are the financial qualifications for an affidavit of support?
The law requires a sponsor to prove an income level at or above
125 percent of the Federal poverty level. (For active duty military
personnel, the income requirement is 100 percent of the poverty
level when sponsoring a husband, wife, or children.) If your income
does not meet the requirement, your assets such as checking and
savings accounts, stocks, bonds, or property may be considered in
determining your financial ability. Federal poverty levels are updated
each year by the Department of Health and Human Services. You can
check current minimums at their Web site at www.aspe.hhs.gov.
I filed the I-130 immigrant petition for my relative,
but I do not meet the minimum income requirement. Can
anyone else be a financial sponsor?
If you do not meet the financial qualifications, the income of certain
other household members can be added to your income level if
they sign a contract on Form I-864A, Affidavit of Support Contract
Between Sponsor and Household Member, agreeing to make their
income or assets available for the support of the relative applying for
If you still cannot meet the financial qualifications, another person
must complete a separate affidavit of support to become a joint
financial sponsor of the person’s immigration. The joint sponsor
must meet all sponsorship requirements separately, including the
minimum income requirements or his or her household, and must be
willing to assume, along with you, financial liability for the sponsored
All sponsors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be at least
18 years old, and be living in the United States (including territories
and possessions) when they file the affidavit of support.
When and how do I file the affidavit of support?
You do not need to file it with your I-130 petition. When the person
reaches the front of the line to immigrate based on your I-130
petition, he or she will have to submit the affidavit of support with an
application for an immigrant visa or permanent residence. Just follow
the instructions for the affidavit and submit all the necessary supporting
documents with the visa or residence application at that time.
Do I need to notify USCIS if I move?
If you financially sponsor someone, you are legally required to keep
USCIS informed of your address until your financial responsibility
ends. If you change your address, you will need to file a Form
I-865, Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address, within 30 days after
the date of your move. Please read the instructions on the form
What if a person I financially sponsor gets public benefits
after becoming a permanent resident?
If a sponsor does not provide basic support to the immigrants
they sponsor, the sponsored immigrants, or the Federal or State
agency that gave the benefits to the family members, can seek
reimbursement of the funds through legal action against the sponsor.
When does my financial responsibility end?
An affidavit of support is enforceable against the sponsor until
the person they sponsored either:
• Becomes a U.S. citizen; or
• Is credited with 40 quarters of work in the United States (usually
10 years); or
• Leaves the United States permanently; or
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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