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.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

2016 Poverty Guidelines for I-864 Affidavit of Support


Every year, USCIS published the most current income requirements for completing the I-864 Affidavit of Support for immigrant petitions. These guidelines are based on the current poverty guidelines published by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

To 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.  For example, as shown by the table below, for an immigrant family of 2, the sponsor's income must be at least 20,025 in most states and U.S. territories except Alaska and Hawaii, which have higher income requirements.

Size of Household
48 Contiguous States,D.C.U.S. Virgin Islands,Guam & CNMI
Alaska
Hawaii
125% of Poverty Line (U.S. dollars)
2
20,025
25,025
      23,037
3
25,200
31,500
      28,987
4
30,375
37,975
      34,937
5
35,550
44,450
      40,887
6
40,725
50,925
      46,837
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 $5,975 for each additional person


If the financial sponsors' income level is below the guidelines, the intending immigrant may be found to be inadmissible to the United States as a "public charge."  Section 212(a)(4) of Immigration Act requires that family-based immigrants and the dependents of an employment-based immigrant must prove that they will not likely become a financial burden (public charge) to the U.S. society.

The I-864 Affidavit of Support form is used to determine if there is sufficient financial support for intending immigrants. The I-864 form turns out to be an extremely challenging document to handle. In fact, a good number of immigrant petitions are delayed or denied because of errors relating to the I-864 form. Normally, the petitioner must act as the sponsor.  If the petitioner's income level is insufficient, a joint sponsor may provide additional financial 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. 

For last year's poverty guidelines, check out our previous blog entry

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