There are many factors to consider regarding family-based immigration, especially financial resources. The United States government wants to ensure that an immigrant will not become a public charge. For that reason, when a permanent resident or U.S. citizen sponsors a family member or spouse, they need to show proof that they will financially support the green card holder. Sometimes, that financial responsibility can be difficult for one person. With that, you may need a joint sponsorship. Together, these sponsors commit to the government that they will be responsible for the applicant. Here are a couple of points that you should know about joint sponsorship and green cards.
What Is a Joint Sponsor?
A joint sponsor is also known as a financial co-sponsor. These individuals are lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens and must be willing to accept all the financial responsibilities for a family-based green card. If a primary sponsor cannot meet the specific minimum income requirement for the applicant, they will need to find a joint sponsor. According to the U.S. government, the joint sponsor must be a person, and the sponsorship cannot come from an organization, corporation, or other entity. Think of the joint sponsor as a type of insurance policy for the government. If the primary sponsor is not able to meet those financial obligations, then the co-sponsor will fill the role.
Are you worried about finding someone for joint sponsorship? Contact us at Abogada Ashley Immigration to learn more about your options.
When Do You Need Joint Sponsorship?
You may need a joint sponsorship if the primary petitioner has a household income level lower than 125% of the U.S. poverty level. Typically, if the petitioning sponsor does not have children or is not an active military member, then the minimum annual income level would be around $23,000 per year. Various types of income and assets can be used to meet those requirements.
In some instances, the income and assets of other household members could be considered for sponsorship. Sometimes, household incomes still do not meet the minimum requirement, meaning assets would need to be considered for sponsorship. If all that is not enough for the applicant’s sponsorship, then it will be time to find a joint sponsorship. The joint sponsor must independently meet the income requirement using their income and/or assets. The joint sponsor cannot combine their income/assets with the main sponsor’s to satisfy the income requirement.
Related: How Much Do Green Cards Cost?
Obligations of a Joint Sponsor
As a joint sponsor, individuals must prove they can meet a few obligations to the United States government. They include:
Financially Supporting the Green Card Holder
The primary reason for any sponsorship is to support the applicant financially. The joint sponsors must show they have the income, assets, and resources to support the immigrant.
Reimbursing the Government for Any Public Benefits Used by Green Card Holder
If the green card holder needs to receive public benefits, then the joint sponsors will be responsible for paying those costs back to the United States government.
How Do You Become a Joint Sponsor?
In many ways, becoming a joint sponsor for a green card holder is a straightforward process. Look at a few of these requirements for sponsorship.
Joint Sponsorship Requirements
If a person wants to become a joint sponsor, they need to meet specific requirements, including:
- Be a U.S. citizen or green card holder
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reside in the United States or a U.S. territory
- Have a total household income equal to at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Level
- Meet guidelines for their household size and location
- Be willing to accept joint liability with the sponsoring family member (petitioner) for financially supporting the family member seeking a green card
While the minimum income requirement is currently at 125%, the United States Department of Homeland Security has proposed raising the requirement to 250% above that level.
Who Is Allowed to Be a Joint Sponsor?
Anyone who meets the basic requirements can become a joint sponsor for a green card holder. They do not have to be related to the sponsored individual. Sometimes, the joint sponsor can be a family member or friend. These individuals do not have to live with the green card holder. However, to meet the minimum annual income requirements for financial sponsorship, the joint sponsor can include assets and income of other members of the household, including:
- Adult children
- Adult siblings
However, if the joint sponsor needs to qualify individuals as household members, the relative will need to be claimed as a dependent on an individual federal tax return or have lived with them in the past six months. These household members must complete Form I-864A if they want to be included to meet the minimum annual income requirement.
What Documents Does a Joint Sponsor Include With Form I-864?
A few documents will need to be included with Form I-864. They include:
- Proof of income (and assets, if any)
- Most recent year’s tax return and W-2
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or green card holder status
- Form I-864A completed by each individual if combining their income and/or assets to meet the minimum annual income requirement
Why Joint Sponsorship Is Important
Joint sponsorship can help an immigrant obtain a green card. Sometimes, one individual might be unable to meet the minimum financial obligation. In that case, a joint sponsor is needed. Joint sponsors do not need to be a relative or family member. Friends can become joint sponsors as long as they meet the basic requirements. When you want to become a permanent resident of this country, a joint sponsorship is one way to achieve that goal.