Are you ready to finish the petition process? Are you ready to petition for your spouse or a loved one and wonder: “Do I make enough money to be their sponsor?” This is just one of many questions you may have as you research the sponsorship petition process.
Sponsors USCIS petitions can be complex. You want a knowledgeable and experienced legal advocate on your side who can help you understand the process and what will be expected of you. We urge you to contact a dedicated immigration lawyer at New Frontier Immigration with questions and concerns.
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I’m Hillary Walsh. I’m an immigration lawyer. New Frontier Immigration is my law firm, and we’re here to help keep families together in the United States of America, the most amazing country in the world!
I’m going to tell you everything you need to know today about sponsoring a loved one in a USCIS petition. Oftentimes, I have clients who tell me: “I have a qualifying family member. My kid is over 21 and wants a petition for me. I have all my ducks in a row in terms of a family relationship, but I’m not sure if I make enough money. How can I sort this out?”
Here, we have to get creative, and sometimes, the answer is really simple. Let me walk you through a few of the most common questions I get, and I’m going to give you a lot of good answers.
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You Must Show That Your Income Was Lawfully Earned
First, the sponsor has to have lawfully earned income. I’m talking about if you are the person who has the main income, you are the immigrant. You’re the person who’s trying to get your green card, and you’re working. You make great money. Let’s say you make 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars a year–– let’s say you make one million a year, but you don’t have work authorization in the United States.
Even though you made all of that money, and you paid taxes on it, it doesn’t count for this purpose. Your income has to be lawfully earned when you had work authorization or has to be income that your family member earned when they had work authorization.
We Need To Show the Last Three Years You Paid Taxes
So, the next question a lot of people have is: “What do I need to do to prove my income?” Usually, we submit the sponsor’s past three years of taxes. If you didn’t file taxes for some reason (perhaps you were underage and weren’t required to file taxes two years ago), that’s fine.
We usually show years of taxes even though only one is required because it shows a solid pattern of having the required amount of income. So, we submit about three years of income tax returns for the sponsor to show that income. If you don’t have that, then it’s possible to request those documents from the IRS, and you can actually do that online.
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How Much Money You Need To Make Depends on Your Family’s Size
Sometimes, clients ask us: “How much money do I need to make?” The answer is: it depends on the size of your family. If it’s going to be you and your spouse living under the same roof, just the two of you, there’s a specific number that you have to show that you make to sponsor another person above the poverty line.
So, what if it’s you, your spouse, and one minor child? So, the person who’s the immigrant, the person who is sponsoring you, and a child. It’s going to be three people, and you can look at the chart to see how much money you need to make for all three of you in order to be a sponsor.
It goes on and on. The one thing where people sometimes get a little bit confused is they forget to add in the immigrant. They’re just looking at who was claimed for taxes. Perhaps you weren’t married to that person last year, so you weren’t claiming/you weren’t filing jointly, and they’re not included. So, it’s the current number of people in your household, and of course, that includes the immigrant themselves.
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Special Exceptions Apply to Military Members and Their Loved Ones
One unique factor (and you can see it when you look at the chart) is military members. They’re on a fixed income, and a lot of times, make a lot less than their civilian counterparts.
I’m an Air Force wife. My brother is in the Army, and my sister and brother-in-law are also in the Air Force. Part of serving the country often comes at the expense of the income that you get. Given that, the USCIS has created a lower threshold for military members, so when you’re looking at the document, you’ll see it is talking about people who are active-duty military members and then the rest of us (civilians).
Most people, unless they’re on active duty, are going to be in the far right column. So, look at that to determine how much money you actually need to make to sponsor your loved one.
You Can Bridge Any Gaps in Your Income
Your sponsor might not make enough money. So, some people have to find a joint sponsor. I want you to imagine building bridges.
If you’re building a bridge, let’s do a hypothetical example where you have to make $75,000 to sponsor 10 people, including yourself. You and the other immigrant make $50,000. You need to bridge the gap between the $50,000 you make and the $75,000 you need.
So, you can talk to friends and family who are willing to help show you three years of taxes that they make $25,000, or you can perhaps show additional assets outside of your earned income. A good example is your home. Suppose your home is worth $150,000. Here, we can show that you make $50,000 a year and have more than $25,000 in assets.
I hope this has been helpful. You have options if you’re unsure how to get your green card or don’t make enough money to sponsor another person. We can build a bridge as necessary. We’re committed to doing everything possible to help you achieve the American Dream.
Sponsors USCIS Petition Frequently Asked Questions
We understand how confusing immigration laws in the United States can be. USCIS petitions can be particularly complex. In the hopes of helping you feel more confident as you move through the immigration process, we answered some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding sponsors USCIS petitions below.
If you have additional questions that were not answered on this page, be sure to reach out to New Frontier Immigration Law to discuss your concerns in further detail.
Can a U.S. Citizen Sponsor a Non-Family Member?
Unfortunately, U.S. immigration laws do not allow U.S. citizens to sponsor or petition for a foreign national’s green card or visa if they are a non-family member. That does not mean you cannot sponsor your non-family member at all. You are legally allowed to sponsor a foreign national financially.
Financial sponsors can fill out a Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support), which will guarantee that your non-family member has enough money to avoid becoming a public charge. This might be through their own income or your own personal financial assistance. Financial sponsors can often make all the difference in a foreign national’s application being approved or rejected.
What Are the Risks of Sponsoring an Immigrant?
There are many risks associated with sponsoring a foreign national. This is, in part, because you are taking on the financial responsibility of this individual.
It is more common than you might think for immigrants to quit their jobs and then file a lawsuit against their sponsor requesting financial support. If this happens, you will be required to provide the immigrant with the financial support they need (as you were their sponsor) and therefore obligated to ensure they do not become financially dependent on the U.S.
How Long Is a Sponsor Responsible for an Immigrant?
When you agree to sponsor a foreign national, your affidavit of support will last until the foreign national becomes a U.S. citizen or 10 years have passed. During this 10-year period, immigrants should have earned 40 quarters of work.
Get Help from an Immigration Lawyer Today
Sponsors USCIS petitions can be confusing. But when you have an experienced immigration lawyer on your side, you can get the answers and legal support you need.
Do not go into the sponsorship process without a supportive legal advocate on your side. Contact New Frontier Immigration Law for a strategic session today.