Sponsors & USCIS Petitions

Are you ready to finish the petition process? Are you ready to petition for your spouse or loved one and the final question you have is: Do I make enough money to be their sponsor?  I’m Hillary Walsh. I’m in 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 anything 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? We have to get creative sometimes 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. 


Lawfully Earned

First the income that the sponsor has to have been lawfully earned. 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. The U.S. is where you have earned that money. Even though you made all of that money and you paid taxes on it, it doesn’t count for this purpose. The income that 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.


Past 3 Years 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 sponsors past 3 years of taxes. If you didn’t file taxes for some reason, perhaps you were underaged and weren’t required to file taxes 2 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 from the IRS your former tax files and you can actually do that online.


Variation Depending on Family Size

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 (in order to be that person’s sponsor) under the poverty guideline. 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 forget to add it into their family. 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 immigrants themselves.


Military Members Get a Break

One unique factor and you can see it when you look at the chart is that military members: they´re on a very fixed income and a lot of times we make a lot less than their civilian counterparts. I´m an AirForce wife, my brother is in the Army and my sister and brother-in-law are Air Force. Part of serving the country often comes at the expense of your income that you get. Given that, 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. Most people unless you’re on active duty you’re going to be in the far right column. So look at that to determine how much money you actually need to make in order to sponsor your loved one. 


Bridge Remaining Amount (If Applicable) 

Now for some reason this is a very common reason your sponsor doesn’t make enough money. Many people have to find a joint sponsor. So I want you to imagine building bridges. If you’re building a bridge from here and let’s do a hypothetical example you have to make $75,000 to sponsor the 10 people including yourself and the immigrant and you make $50,000.You need to bridge the gap between those two numbers so we have to build a bridge for $25,000. 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 use perhaps you had different assets. Perhaps your home for example you own your home. Your home is worth $150,000. We can use some of those things to show that you make the requisite income and that you have those assets that are necessary beyond just what your tax return says.


 I hope this has been helpful and I want to really stress that it can be about numbers, it can be coming up against finding that this is a problem (´´I don’t make enough money, my sponsor doesn’t make enough money, this is a really big stressful thing´´) or we can get creative. We can build a bridge as necessary. We can look at what assets you have: the car is that you own those types of things so that we can help your family member get their green card because that is what’s important. That is worth being creative for!

The following two tabs change content below.

New Frontier Immigration Law

New Frontier understand there is a lot in the news guiding people to be fearful of undocumented immigrants. Fear from the community causes your family to fear more. We understand this, and we want to help.

Latest posts by New Frontier Immigration Law (see all)