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Sponsoring an immigrant is a serious obligation, so those intending to sponsor by filing an affidavit of support must meet certain qualifications. The income requirements for sponsoring an immigrant in Oak Brook could create the most cause for concern. This is because the federal guidelines are not always clear on the subject, and the specific qualifications vary based on a number of circumstances.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act allows for joint and substitute sponsors, which can further complicate the assessment of income qualifications as well. Applicants should speak to a skilled immigration lawyer to learn more about how to fulfill the requirement to sponsor an immigrant.

What is the Legal Basis for the Income Requirement?

Section 212(a)(4) of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) specifies that foreign nationals will generally be considered inadmissible to the United States if they are “likely at any time to become a public charge.” This phrase refers to an individual becoming dependent on the government because he or she is no longer able to support himself or herself due to his or her age, health, resources, or other issues.

However, this law also provides for an exception to this exclusion if the applicant seeking admission provides an acceptable affidavit of support. The requirements for an affidavit of support are set forth in Section 213A of the INA. To be accepted, an affidavit must:

  • Be filed by the sponsor of the alien
  • Be executed as a contract that can be enforced by federal, state, or local governments or entities that provide public benefits
  • Include an agreement to provide support to keep the sponsored person at an income equal to or greater than 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines
  • Be enforceable until the person is either naturalized as a U.S. citizen or has worked 40 quarters of employment

So, under this statute, the income requirement does not apply to the sponsor directly. Rather, it requires that sponsor to be able to provide support at a level of at least equal or higher than 125 percent of the United States poverty line during the period when the agreement is enforceable.

How are the Income Requirements are Calculated?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides Form I-864P for determining the required household income for a sponsor filing an affidavit of support. The poverty guidelines are determined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and are re-evaluated every year. A dedicated immigration attorney could help calculate an applicant’s household income to determine whether he or she is equal or above the poverty guideline level.

Required amounts vary depending on the location of the household, the number of individuals in the household, and whether the sponsor is serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. Those on active duty who are sponsoring a spouse or child need to demonstrate that his or her household income equals 100 percent of the poverty guideline level rather than 25 percent above that guideline.

Get Help Determining Income Requirements for Sponsoring an Immigrant in Oak Brook

When considering the poverty guidelines, the HHS points out the need to differentiate these from the poverty threshold established by the Census Bureau. Both are often referred to as the poverty line or poverty level, but it is the poverty guidelines that are used to determine income requirements for sponsoring an immigrant.

Needless to say, the guidelines for determining what sources of income count toward the income requirements for sponsoring an immigrant in Oak Brook can be difficult to apply and understand. Assistance may be available from the field office of USCIS or from a determined immigration lawyer, so contact us today to set up a consultation.

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