Can my spouse and I use foreign assets to meet the green card income requirements?


Ask Anjana is an advice column by immigration attorney Anjana Prasad. Submit questions to ask.anjana@boundless.com.

Jul 6, 2018


Anjana Prasad, Esq. Senior Advisor, Immigration Law

Dear Anjana,

Can my spouse and I use foreign assets to meet the green card income requirements?

Happily Married


Dear Happily Married,

First of all, congratulations!

You’re asking a good question, and you’re not alone — completing Form I-864 (officially called the “Affidavit of Support”) is a requirement on every green card application.

The short answer to your question is … yes and no. Before you include any assets on Form I-864, make sure that you don’t have enough income from employment to satisfy the minimum financial sponsorship requirement for your household size. For most marriage green card sponsors (the spouses who are U.S. citizens or green card holders), that minimum is 125% of the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Only if you cannot meet that minimum income requirement should you then consider using your household’s assets. As for whether you can use foreign assets: If you’re the sponsor, you may include only U.S.-based assets, such as savings and stocks, as well as your home or secondary vehicle. The official I-864 guidelines state, however, that green card applicants may include their assets no matter where they live, whether in the United States or abroad.

But that’s not all you need to know. There are additional constraints on using foreign assets as proof of financial support:

1. The assets must be “liquid” (that is, convertible into cash within one year).

2. It must be possible to move the assets from the country where they are located to the United States — and only up to the value of each asset allowed by the green card applicant’s home country.

3. The total of your assets must equal at least five times the difference between the sponsor’s income and the applicable poverty guidelines. If, for instance, that shortfall is $5,000, you’ll need to include on your I-864 at least $25,000 worth of assets.

As long as you meet the above conditions, you should be able to use the green card applicant’s assets that are outside the United States.

For more details, check out our full guide to the Marriage Visa Income Requirements. Boundless can help you make sure your affidavit of support form (I-864) is properly and accurately completed, along with all the other required government forms for your green card application.

Best wishes!

Anjana


Ask Anjana is an advice column for immigrants written by immigration attorney Anjana Prasad. If you’d like to submit a question to Ask Anjana, please send an email to ask.anjana@boundless.com.

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