A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Poverty Guidelines for 2015 for Affidavit of Support of Immigrants (I-864)

USCIS released the most current HHS Poverty Guidelines in March 2015.  The purpose is to advise intending immigrants and their sponsors the income level required in their particular case to overcome the "public charge" ground of inadmissibility in the Immigration and National Act (INA). If a person is found to be inadmissible to the United States, he or she would not be allowed to immigrate. 
The public charge ground pursuant to Section 212(a)(4) of INA requires that family-based immigrants and the dependents of an employment-based immigrant must prove that they will not likely become a financial burden to the U.S. government. Normally, the I-864 Affidavit of Support form is used for these purposes. 
To financially support an intending immigrant and his/her family members, the sponsor(s) must generally show that their income level is above 125% of the U.S. poverty line for the family unit. Every year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) publishes the poverty guidelines for the public. The 2015 guidelines are listed below:

Size of Household
48 Contiguous States,D.C.U.S. Virgin Islands,Guam & CNMI
Alaska
Hawaii
125% of Poverty Line (U.S. dollars)
2
19.912
24,900
      22,912
3
25,112
         31,400
      28,887
4
30,312
37,900
      34,862
5
35,512
44,400
      40,837
6
40,712
50,900
      46,812
7
45,912
57,400
      52,787
8
51,112
         63,900
      58,762

Add $5,200 for each additional person
Add $6,500 for each additional person
Add $5,837 for each additional person

For many applicants, the I-864 form turns out to be the most challenging document to handle. In fact, a good number of immigrant petitions are delayed or denied due to the petitioner's failure to properly fill out the I-864 and related forms, or produce sufficient documents to prove financial ability.  If the petitioner cannot meet the I-864 requirements, another person may act as a joint sponsor and complete his or her own Affidavit of Support.  Both petitioner and the beneficiary may also use their assets such as real estate, stocks, bonds, cash, etc., to meet the I-864 requirements. 

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