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2016 Financial Eligibility requirements for CR-1 Spouse Visa

The way the financial eligibility calculation works:

The sponsor must have sufficient income or assets to indicate that he is financially able to support the Spouse in order to prevent her 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% (Spouse) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guideline for his state.

As of March 2016, for residents in the continental US the Financial Eligibility Thresholds for a Spouse Visa are as follows.

Required Annual Income

$20,025, if 2 Persons in Family or Household

$25,200, if 3 Persons in Family or Household

$30,375, if 4 Persons in Family or Household

For each Additional person add $5,200

The Financial eligibilty thresholds are lower for active military, and higher for residents of Alaska or Hawaii.

How to prove your Income.

The way to demonstrate his income, the US sponsor normally provides his most recent Federal Tax Return, 3 to 6 pay stubs showing 'Year to date' earnings, plus a letter from his employer confirming his job, and what the annual pay is.

Cash Assets count as an alternate to income.

In some cases a sponsors income may be low, but he has 'money in the bank'. Cash assets, can be used as a substitute for annual income. 'Cash' assets are assets which can be easily converted (sold) to cash. For example: stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, cash in a checking account can be used. Other assets that can NOT be easily turned to cash with the EXCEPTION of equity in his home, are not useable.

Cash Asset Equivalents

$5 cash assets = $1 annual income

For example, a retired spouse visa sponsor living in California, with NO income, and no dependents would need to have $100,125 in cash assets to quality for the Visa.

5 x $20,025 = $100,125

Alternatively a combination of income and assets will work. For example, if the sponsors income is $10,000 per year, then he should have $29,650 cash or convertible assets to qualify.

$20,025 - $10,000 = $10,025 x 5 = $ 50,125 cash assets needed.

Using a Financial Joint-sponsor

If the sponsors income or assets are not enough to achieve the eligibility threshold, the sponsor can ask a relative or friend to act as a joint-sponsor. Just like buying a car, a second person could 'co-sign' your loan. In this case he is financially joint-sponsoring your petition.

When a joint-sponsor is used the size of the household increases. The combined household (for the financial calculations) would include the household size of the sponsor combined with the household size of the co-sponsor.

For example, a college student petitioning for his spouse, asks his father to joint-sponsor. Both the college student and the father would each complete an affidavit of support. The students household is just 2 persons, himself and his new spouse. The fathers household would be father, mother, and the two siblings still living at home. Thus the combined household would be 6 persons, and the combined income of both sponsor and joint-sponsor would have to be $40,725 or more.

A joint-sponsor can be used for any Spouse Visa petition.

As of March 2016, 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 $20,025 $25,025 $23,037
3 $25,200 $31,500 $28,987
4 $30,375 $37,975 $34,937
For each Additional person add $5,200 $6,500 $5,975


Note: The annual income requirements for active military personal are less only 110 % versus 125% of (HHS) poverty guideline.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

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