To obtain Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, a beneficiary must submit an affidavit of support (I-864) by a sponsor (the petitioner).
INA 212(a)(4) provides that an applicant who, at the time of application for a visa, for admission, or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge after admission to the United States is inadmissible and, therefore, ineligible for a visa.
To show that a green card applicant will not be a public charge, their petitioner needs to file an affidavit of support. To do this, the I-864 sponsor must demonstrate income that meets at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). Link to review current guidelines: https://www.uscis.gov/i-864p
Under INA §213A, I-864 affidavits are required for most family-based and some employment-based cases.
For the purpose of determining ineligibility under INA 212(a)(4), the term "public charge" means that an alien, after admission into the United States, is likely to become primarily dependent on the U.S. Government for subsistence.
A submitted I-864 is a positive factor in determining public charge but is not considered sufficient alone to determine public charge either before USCIS or DOS. 8 CFR §212.22(b)(7). Indeed, a properly submitted i864 is one factor in the totality of the applicant’s circumstances. Conversely, failure to submit a required I-864 establishes a likelihood of public charge which makes an applicant inadmissible to the US for the purposes of obtaining LPR status or a green card.
If they do not meet income guideline, they could use a joint sponsor or household wage earner. There’s a difference between these two.
What is the difference between a joint sponsor & a household wage earner?
The I-864 Sponsor
a. be a USC or LPR,
b. be at least 18 years of age,
c. be domiciled in U.S., and
d. have an income 125% of poverty guidelines, INA §213A(f)(1).
The sponsor may also be a conditional resident. In family-based cases, the sponsor must be the petitioning family member.
Where more than one petition has been filed, sponsor must be the petitioner on the petition used for residency. 8 CFR §213a.2(b)(1). “If the intending immigrant is the beneficiary of more than one approved immigrant visa petition, it is the person who filed the petition that is actually the basis for the intending immigrant's eligibility to apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status who must file an affidavit of support.”
All sponsors must be 18 or older. If the sponsor was under 18 when they signed the i864, they can cure improper filing by signing the I-864 again on or after their 18th birthday, before a decision on the Immigrant Visa (IV) or Adjustment of Status Application (AOS) application.
Household Wage-Earners (I-864A), Joint Sponsors, and Substitute Sponsors—
The I-864 sponsor must show that he or she has income that meets at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG).
If sponsor’s income is insufficient, he or she may include
- a household wage-earner, who must sign an I-864A, or
- a joint or substitute sponsor, who must file their own I-864.
(a) Income—Income for purposes of the I-864 means the total unadjusted income on tax return, before deductions, including salary (if any) and monetary gains from any other source, such as rent, interest, dividends, etc. 9 FAM 302.8-(B)(4)(f)(1).
(b) Household Wage-Earner on I-864A—
I. Whether or not they live with sponsor
Income of a household wage-earner (including sponsor’s spouse and other persons claimed as dependents in the most recent tax year) whether or not they reside in sponsor’s household, may be included if they are at least 18.
Ii. Living in same residence as sponsor
Other relatives (father, mother, adult son, adult daughter, brother or sister) who have the same principal residence as sponsor) could be included as household wage earners to have their income pooled for the intending immigrant's application.
The household member doest not need to be a USC or LPR. 8 CFR §213a.2(c)(2)(i)(C)(1); 8 CFR §213a.1 (defining “Household size”) “Household income” may include the intending immigrant’s income if sponsor’s spouse shares principal residence with sponsor, and income is earned from “lawful employment in the United States” or from “some other lawful source”. The income must not dry up and must be maintained or continue to be available after LPR status is acquired. 8 CFR §213a.1. To have their income counted, household members would have to file an I-864A, which is a written contract with sponsor, stating that they will be liable, jointly and severally, for any reimbursement obligation that sponsor may incur. 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(6)(b)(1).
(c) Joint Sponsor—If sponsor cannot meet minimum-income requirements, a joint sponsor could help. To be eligible as a joint sponsor, they must be
a. at least 18,
b. a USC or LPR, and
c. domiciled in the U.S. 8 CFR §213a.2(c)(1).
The joint sponsor must file a separate I-864 and meet the minimum-income requirements separate and distinct from sponsor. 8 CFR §213a.2(c)(1)(i). The joint sponsor’s household income must equal at least 125% of the FPG for the joint sponsor’s household size unless on active duty and the immigrant is a joint sponsor’s spouse or child (income floor then 100% of the FPG). 8 CFR §213a.2(c)(2)(iii)(C). To satisfy the minimum income guidine, a sponsor and joint sponsor cannot combine their incomes and an intending immigrant must have only one joint sponsor. However, in the case where there are derivative beneficiaries, they do not need to have the same joint sponsor, and a family may be divided so there are joint sponsors for different family members. 8 CFR §213a.2(c)(2)(iii)(C). There may only be a maximum of 2 joint sponsors for any family group. 8 CFR §213a.2(c)(2)(iii)(C).
If you need help with filing a green card or any U.S. immigration matter, kindly contact our office here: https://akpokulaw.com/ or call us on +1 (802) 780 0564. We represent immigrants in ALL 50 states throughout the United States and around the world. We also handle ALL types of US immigration matters.
Akua Ohenetwene Aboagye, Esq.
AK Poku Law, PLLC