When filing a petition for immigration to the United States, there are many different requirements that one must meet to prove that they are eligible to become a permanent resident and receive a green card. An “intending immigrant” must prove that they are not going to become a public charge or request financial assistance from the U.S. government. Even if they have their own income or assets, the immigration process requires that the family member (usually the spouse) petitioning for them act as their financial sponsor by signing an “affidavit of support,” or USCIS Form I-864.
If the petitioning sponsor does not have enough income or assets to meet the minimum required threshold, then they must find a joint sponsor who will complete and sign Form I-864 in support of the immigration petition. The minimum threshold for most sponsors is 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline based upon household size and location. Household size includes the sponsor or joint sponsor’s dependents and the intending immigrant. If income is too low, then assets may be used, but assets must equal 5 times the difference between the joint sponsor’s income and the minimum required income. It is generally best if the joint sponsor's income exceeds the threshold rather than the added hassle of using assets for purposes of the affidavit of support.