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 (HHS).

2011 HHS Federal Poverty Guidelines

in Family
48 Contiguous
States and D.C.
For each additional
person, add

2011 Minimum Income Requirement for an affidavit of support
(Based on 125% of the Federal Poverty Level)

Number of family members
48 Contiguous
States and D.C.
For each additional
person, add

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 permanent residence.
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 for his or her household, and must be willing to assume, along with you, financial liability for the sponsored immigrant(s).
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.

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
• Dies.

Who Can Enforce the financial support?

1. Alien Spouse
2. Federal Government
3. State Government or Municipality/County/Etc.
4. Any other entity that provides any means-tested public benefit to the Alien
5. Not the USCIS

Where Can the Contract Be Enforced?

1. Any Federal Court
2. Any State Court

What kind of liability does Joint Sponsors have?

1. Joint Liability means that the support obligation may be enforced against the sponsor and joint sponsor so that each may be liable for a portion of the total amount due.
2. Several Liability means that the alien or any federal, state or local agency may choose to sue only the sponsor or Joint Sponsor for the entire amount.

If the marriage ends in a divorce, does the U.S. citizen still have the financial responsibility to the alien?

Yes, the I-864 survives a divorce and is separately enforceable as a contract.