What happens when the sponsor for a marriage based green card doesn’t have the minimum required income?

Thursday, April 27, 2017 | Last Updated: October 19, 2015
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The Affidavit of Support

The Affidavit of Support is one of the most complicated and important forms required during the marriage based green card immigration process.

If you are a United States Citizen or a Green Card holder and you sponsor somebody to come to the United States, then you need to make certain promises to the US government. One of them is that you have the means to support this person financially. You must show to the USCIS that you have sufficient income to ensure that the beneficiary will not become a public charge.

In order for you to be able to sponsor a foreign national for a green card, your income must meet or exceed 125% of the Federal poverty guidelines indicated for your household size. The exact amount for the Federal poverty guidelines is updated every year. You can find the current guidelines here:

The Affidavit of Support must be filed at the same time as the green card petition.

If you don’t meet the income requirements, you have to find a joint sponsor for the green card petition, who is also a US citizen or permanent resident. Typically, this person would be a family member or a very close friend, although legally, it could be any person who meets the requirements. This joint sponsor must complete an additional Affidavit of Support, in which he or she attests that the beneficiary will not become a public charge.

Both Affidavit of Support forms, along with supporting documentation such as verification of salary and employment, tax returns, recent paystubs, etc. will be included in the green card petition.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are sponsoring your spouse to get a green card, please contact us in our offices in San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Sacramento. You can call us at 800-753-1399. We will be happy to assist you.