Form I-864 is a form that is used to demonstrate to the U.S. government that an intending immigrant that applies for a green card will not become a “public charge.”
Form I-864 is an affidavit of support that a financial sponsor completes on behalf of a green card applicant. A qualifying sponsor must show income and/or assets that are at least 125% of the poverty level as determined every year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Active-duty military sponsors need meet only a 100% threshold. To view the current poverty guidelines click here.
To qualify, current income is considered along with past income and supporting proof, such as employment verification letters and Federal income tax returns. If neeeded to exceed the required threshold, assets may be used to supplement earned income or used instead of earned income. The general rule is that 5 times the amount of assets equals the same amount of income. For example, $50,000 of assets equals $10,000 of income. In marriage cases, the 5-1 rule is reduced to a 3-1 rule. For example, in marriage cases $30,000 worth of assets equals $10,000 of income.
When using money in a bank, for example, 12 months of bank statements should be provided as proof. One bank statement of recently deposited funds would generally not suffice. Generally, assets are liquid assets such as money in a bank account, or other assets such as a home. A home would need to be appraised for its current value, minus any mortgage amount. Assets need to be verified and if not already liquid then they should be amenable to being liquefied within a year without leaving the sponsor destitute.
In family cases such as marriage to a U.S. citizen, the petitioning U.S. citizen must be the financial sponsor. If the U.S. citizen does not qualify as a sponsor because of lack of income or assets, or for other reasons, then a qualifying joint sponsor can be used. The joint sponsor would need to independently qualify. The incomes of the financial sponsor and joint sponsor are not added together. However, under some circumstances the income/assets of the sponsored intending immigrant may be included and used to qualify.
There are other important rules regarding qualifying as an I-864 financial sponsor based on income and/or assets, and proof. Many people have contacted our office after having submitted I-864 forms to USCIS or to the NVC that do not meet the income/assets and/or documentation requirements. In those cases, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) stating that the I-864 requirements have not been met. Additional adequate evidence must be submitted to USCIS within a specified period of time. If not, then USCIS will deny the case. Working with a competent immigration lawyer is best.