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2017 Financial Eligibility requirements for Permanent Residency through marriage

In order to be eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status through marriage, the following requirements must be met, and documentation must be available as proof:

Legally Married to US Citizen

Bona Fide Relationship

Income over 125% National Poverty Level

A.   The sponsor is a US Citizen

B.   Sponsor and Spouse are legally married at the time the petition is filed.

C.  Sponsor and Spouse have a sincere, genuine "bona fide" marriage.

D.    The sponsor must have sufficient income or assets to indicate that he is financially able to support the spouse to prevent the spouse from becoming a ward of the state.  The sponsor’s annual income based on the number of dependents his combined household will have, should be at least $125% of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guideline for his state.  As of March 2017, for residents in the continental US who are not on active military duty, the details are as follows.

Persons in Family or Household 48 Contiguous States and D.C. Alaska Hawaii
2 $20,300 $25,362 $23,337
3 $25,525 $31,900 $29,350
4 $30,750 $38,473 $35,362
For each Additional person add $5,225 $6,537 $6,012

Proving your Income.

Normally you provide your most recent Federal Tax Return, 3 to 6 pay stubs showing 'Year to date' earnings, plus a letter from your employer confirming your job, and what your expected annual pay is.

If your income might be low, but you have 'money in the bank' your cash assets, can be used as a alternative for annual income.

'Cash' assets are assets which can be easily converted (sold) to cash. For example: stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, cash in the bank

You may have a lot of ther assets such as your car, boat, coin collection, business or investment property but because these can NOT be easily turned to cash immigration will not accept them as alternatives to annual income.

The one exception to an asset that is hard to convert, but CAN be counted is your home. If the market value of your home is higher than your mortgage you may use the equity just like a cash asset.

$5 cash assets is the equivalent of $1 annual income

For example, if your household is just you and your new spouse, you need to have $20,300 annual income, but if you have no income, BUT do have cash assets, you would need to have

$20,300 times 5 or $101,500 of cash assets to qualify.

Alternatively a combination of income and assets could work. For example, your income is $10,000 per year.

The calculation for how much cash assets you would need would be

$20,300 annual income requirement, less the $10,000 income you have leaving a shortfall of $10,300.

Then $10,300 times 5 or $51,500 is the amount of cash assets you need to qualify.

What if you don't have enough income OR assets?

In that case you can ask a relative or friend to act as a joint-sponsor.

Just like buying a car, your joint-sponsor could 'co-sign' your loan.

When you use a joint-sponsor the total size of the household increases. Now we combine all the people in your household plus those in your joint-sponsor's.

For example, you ask your father to joint-sponsor. Your household is just 2 persons, you and your new spouse. Your fathers household is your father, mother, and the two children still living at home.

Thus the combined household would be 6 persons, and the combined income of both sponsor and joint-sponsor would need to be $41,200 or more to qualify.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

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