Prior to allowing someone to sponsor an alien for a green card through marriage, immigrant visa, or non-immigrant visa, the sponsor must meet a minimum income threshold requirement. Usually, the income requirement is between 100% to 125% of the poverty line. The government wants to reduce the likelihood that the immigrant will become dependent on the State. However, there are two alternative ways to qualify without a regular income: (1) assets and (2) through joint sponsorship.
Calculating the Income Requirement
The income requirement is calculated based on the state where the sponsor resides, how many people are in the sponsor’s household, and how many aliens are sponsored. The more financial burdens on the sponsors, the higher the income requirement. Failure to meet these requirements could result in the visa getting declined.
In some circumstances, if the sponsor’s income doesn’t meet the thresholds, the government will allow alternative qualifications through assets. If the qualified assets equal three times the income requirement, the sponsor can meet the asset requirement. For example, if the income requirement is $30,000, assets equal to $90,000 will qualify as the income requirement.
- Real Estate. If a sponsor owns a property outright or has equity, real estate property can be used to help the sponsor meet the income requirements. However, if a debt is owed on the property, then the outstanding debt will be subtracted against the value to establish the qualification amount.
- Vehicles. The government will consider the Kelly Bluebook value of vehicles that are not the primary vehicle. For example, a sponsor with two vehicles may use the second car’s KBB value.
- Cash. Sponsors may use cash in US-based accounts.
- Stocks, Bonds, Investment, and Retirements Accounts. Sponsors may also use US-based investment accounts.
- Life Insurance. Life insurance with a surrender value can also be used.
- Jewelry, Musical Instruments, Gold, Silver, and Other Valuable Assets. Certain valuable pieces of property can also be used. The sponsor will need to provide a receipt proving that it was lawfully acquired and a recent appraisal.
Sponsorships may also be joint. Joint sponsors agree to be responsible for the immigrant. The joint sponsor must be over 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or lawful resident, and domiciled (i.e., living and staying in the United States). However, the government doesn’t allow sponsors to pool their income to meet the requirement. Therefore, the joint sponsor must independently meet the 125% income requirement (either via assets or income).