When you as an American Citizen or resident applies to US immigration for your fiance, or spouse, or family member to enter the USA and/or live here permanently, you must demonstrate you have adequate income or assets to prove that you are financially able to support your fiance or spouse in order to prevent her from becoming a ward of the state.
The sponsorís annual income based on the number of dependents your combined household will have, should be at least 100%( for a Fiancee Visa) or 125% (for a Spouse visa or Green Card) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guideline.
The Financial eligibility thresholds are lower if you are active military, and higher for residents of Alaska or Hawaii.
Go to VisaCoach.com to find an up to date chart showing the actual income dollar amounts needed.
What IF, you, the primary sponsor, don't have enough income to meet the requirement?
In most cases you are allowed to to ask a friend or family member to help, and become your joint-sponsor.
Just like buying a car for a teenager, the joint-sponsor could 'co-sign' your loan.
In this case he is financially joint-sponsoring the immigration of your fiance or spouse.
The joint-sponsor should have an acceptable reason to want to "help out", such as friendship or family ties. Joint-sponsors who might have other agendas like loan sharks, relatives of your fiance or spouse, or future employers of your foreign spouse are not good choices.
When a joint-sponsor is used his income and his household are added to yours. For example, a college student petitioning for his fiancee, 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 fiancee. 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 also be added together..
The joint sponsor must provide proof of his income. Normally this is 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 status, and annual pay. He must also demonstrate he is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. For this he shows his birth certificate, US passport, or green Card.
Responsibilities of the Joint sponsor ?
Just like you the orginal sponsor, the joint sponsor will sign a contract called the Affidavit of Support. Basically both of you are guaranteeing that IF the beneficiary (the foreign born fiance or spouse) ends up using Federal Assistance within the following 10 years, that you and he agree to "pay the bill".
A joint-sponsor can be used for any Spousal Visa or Adjustment of Status petition, and may be used for MOST Fiancee Visa petitions.
Some consulates refuse to allow a joint sponsor to be used when applying for a fiance visa. For example: The consulates in Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nigeria expect the Fiance visa sponsor to have adequate resources, on his own.
By Fred Wahl
the Visa Coach