By signing this document, any household member who is not a sponsored immigrant agrees to allow his or her income to be available to the petitioning sponsor to help support the immigrant beneficiary.

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As part of the application process, the U.S. petitioner will need to fill out a form called an Affidavit of Support, on USCIS Form I-864, on the immigrant’s behalf.

The legal purpose of this Affidavit is to prove that, according to the numbers set forth within the U.S. Poverty Guidelines (see below), the U.S. sponsor’s household income is high enough to support the immigration family members at 125% or more of the U.S. poverty line levels.

The I-864 is used to prove that you can financially support the intending immigrant and promises the US government that the beneficiary will not become a public charge to taxpayers. The only way the sponsor is released from this obligation is if the following:

  • Beneficiary (sponsored immigrant(s)) has worked for 40 quarters (10 years)
  • Beneficiary (sponsored immigrant(s)) leaves the US permanently
  • Beneficiary (sponsored immigrant(s)) becomes US citizen
  • Beneficiary (sponsored immigrant(s)) dies.

To count the income of any of these household members, the person must be at least 18 years old and, except for the intending immigrant, execute a Contract – Form I-864A.

The purpose of this contract is to assist the sponsored immigrant(s) and any other agency or entity to which the sponsor is financially obligated to reimburse because he or she has signed an affidavit of support to sponsor an immigrant. It is a legally-binding contract that can be signed by another household member of the sponsor (who is not a sponsored immigrant him- or herself), making his or her assets and income available to aid the immigrant for whom the sponsor has agreed to support.

Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, can help make up for the shortcomings if the primary sponsor’s income is not sufficient to meet the minimum financial requirements for sponsoring someone for a green card.


It is not merely enough to share an address with someone to be considered a household member. For the purpose of filing the I-864A, USCIS imposes other criteria. A household member must be 18 years old or more, and belong to one of the following categories:

  • Must be the spouse or dependent of the sponsor as listed on the previous year’s tax return, but not necessarily living at the same address, or
  • Must be the father, mother, brother, sister, or adult child of the sponsor and living at the same address

Household members need not be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Roommates and romantic partners who are unwed are not eligible household members.

Minimum Income Requirements 2018 HHS Poverty Guidelines

Sponsor’s residence: 48 Contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam:

What required supporting documents for the I-864 Affidavit of Support?

Prove your relationship by submitting a photocopy of your Birth certificate or Marriage certificate; Submit a copy of your individual Federal income tax return (including W-2s for the most recent tax year). You may submit this information for the most recent three tax years, pay stubs from the most recent six months, and a letter from your employer. For joint sponsors: most recent Federal Income Tax Returns

When sponsor’s obligation to support end?

If any public agencies have provided public benefits to the immigrant during the term of the agreement, the government can sue the sponsor for reimbursement.

Obligations under this agreement (Form I-864, Affidavit of Support), will end if the person either: 

  • Becomes a U.S. citizen;
  • Working, or can receive credit (40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act);
  • No longer has lawful permanent resident status and has departed the United States;
  • Is subject to removal, or
  • Dies
Can I use assets to qualify and what assets can be used?

Completing Part 7 of the Form I-864 (Use of Assets to Supplement Income)

You are allowed to count an asset only if you can sell it, and have the resulting cash in the U.S., within 12 months.

Types of assets may include stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, real estate, and other forms of property.

Is there a limit on the number of joint sponsors?

There is no limit on the number of joint sponsors. The joint sponsor must meet the 125 percent of the poverty line income requirement for their household size.

Who can be a joint sponsor?

Be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national who is at least 18 years of age, and
Have an income of at least 125% of the poverty level; and
Be domiciled in the United States ( or its territories)

Becoming a US citizen entails specific rights, duties, and the following benefits: consular protection outside the United States; ability to sponsor relatives living abroad; ability to invest in the US real property without triggering additional taxes; transmitting US citizenship to children; protection from deportation and others. U.S. law permits multiple citizenship. A citizen of another country naturalized as a U.S. citizen may retain his previous citizenship


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