Practical Guide to the 2017 Fiance Visa Affidavit of Support

The American citizen K-1 visa petitioner must submit an affidavit of support (I-134). The affidavit authorizes government agencies to request reimbursement from the petitioner if the beneficiary receives means-tested public benefits. The affidavit of support DOES NOT obligate the petitioner to provide direct support to the beneficiary.

The petitioner’s income must be at least 125% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines based on household size. If the petitioner’s income is insufficient he may count part of the value of his assets toward meeting the income requirement. If the petitioner is unable to meet the minimum income requirement, a co-sponsor is required.

Supporting documents for an affidavit of support include income tax returns, W-2s and 1099s, pay stubs, employer letters, bank account records, pension records, stock account records, business profit and loss records, etc.

The petitioner’s obligation under the affidavit of support terminates if any of the following events occur to the beneficiary: (1) she naturalizes; (2) she dies; (3) she leaves the U.S. permanently; or (4) she is credited with 40 quarters of work in the US.

The documentary requirements to satisfy the affidavit of support are different depending upon whether the fiancee visa petitioner is employed or self-employed or retired.

Employed K-1 Visa Petitioner

The employed Fiancee visa petitioner has the easiest time documenting his income for the affidavit of support. All he needs to do is produce six months of pay stubs, an employer letter, 1 to 3 years of W-2s from his employer and 1 to 3 years of tax returns.

Self-Employed Fiance Visa Petitioner

Self-employed K-1 visa petitioners typically have a moderately difficult time meeting the documentary requirements of the affidavit of support. First, the Embassy tends to be skeptical of self-employed petitioners income. Second, self-employed petitioners typically have a lot of Schedule C deductions which reduce their net income dramatically. These deductions often yield a net income that is below the affidavit of support requirements. It is important for self-employed petitioners to understand that the Embassy looks at NET income and not GROSS income. The self-employed petitioner can potentially use his assets in addition to his income to meet the affidavit requirements.

Self-employed petitioners document their income using quarterly tax payments, tax returns, 1099s, bank records and business profit and loss statements.

Retired K-1 Visa Petitioner

In many ways retired petitioners are like employed petitioners with regard to documentary evidence because the typical retiree receives defined income from Social Security and possibly company pension or 401K distribution. It is simple enough for the retired petitioner to document his Social Security, pension income and/or 401K withdrawal income. The Embassy is not suspicious of retirement income and is usually very accommodating to retired petitioners with regard to the affidavit of support.

Conclusion

In conclusion, most petitioners are extremely nervous about meeting the affidavit of support requirements. The affidavit of support should not be feared if the petitioner understands the income requirements and documentary evidence required. Most problems involving the affidavit of support occur because the petitioner does not provide the Embassy with sufficient documentation of income.

Below in the following charts are the 2017 Affidavit of Support requirements:

2017 Fiance Visa HHS Poverty Guidelines

For the 48 Contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:

Sponsor’s Household Size 100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines* 125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who are petitioning for their spouse or child For all other sponsors
2 $16,240 $20,300
3 $20,420 $25,525
4 $24,600 $30,750
5 $28,780 $35,975
6 $32,960 $41,200
7 $37,140 $46,425
8 $41,320 $51,650
Add $4,180 for each additional person. Add $5,225 for each additional person.

For Alaska:

Sponsor’s Household Size 100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines* 125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who are petitioning for their spouse or child For all other sponsors
2 $20,290 $25,362
3 $25,520 $31,900
4 $30,750 $38,437
5 $35,980 $44,975
6 $41,210 $51,512
7 $46,440 $58,050
8 $51,670 $64,587
Add $5,230 for each additional person. Add $6,537 for each additional person.

For Hawaii:

Sponsor’s Household Size 100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines* 125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who are petitioning for their spouse or child For all other sponsors
2 $18,670 $23,337
3 $23,480 $29,350
4 $28,290 $35,362
5 $33,100 $41,375
6 $37,910 $47,387
7 $42,720 $53,400
8 $47,530 $59,412
Add $4,810 for each additional person. Add $6,012 for each additional person.

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