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Understanding the financial requirements for your U.S. immigration journey can be difficult.
Whether you’re just getting started on your visa application or you’ve just recently moved to the U.S., Boundless is here to help. Here’s a breakdown of common financial questions during each stage of the immigration process:
In this guide:
Financial Considerations Before Starting Your Immigration Journey
UNDERSTANDING FINANCIAL SPONSORSHIP
If you’re looking to sponsor a spouse or family member for a green card, it is important to understand your responsibilities as a financial sponsor and the specific government requirements you must meet. More information on financial sponsorship can be found in Boundless’ guide here. Do you or your spouse meet the requirements for financial sponsorship? You can check your eligibility through Boundless. Starting at $995, Boundless helps you complete your entire marriage-based green card (spousal visa) application — including all required forms and supporting documents, and an independent attorney review. Learn more, or start your application.
INCOME REQUIREMENTS FOR FAMILY-BASED VISAS
In order to sponsor a spouse or family member for a green card, you must be able to demonstrate a minimum annual income based on your household size. The most common minimum annual income required to sponsor a spouse or family member for a green card is $22,887. Here is a breakdown by household size:
|2022 Minimum Annual Income Requirements for Most Sponsors: 125% of Federal Poverty Guidelines|
|Number of people in your household (including yourself and your spouse)*||For sponsors in the 48 contiguous states, D.C., and U.S. territories||For sponsors in Alaska||For sponsors in Hawaii|
|For each additional person, add:||$5,900||$7,375||$6,787|
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR HOUSEHOLD SIZE
To determine the minimum annual income for your specific situation, it is important to accurately calculate your household size. To calculate the number of people in your household, you must include:
-Your spouse or relative (green card applicant)
-Any unmarried children under age 21 (or the age of majority where they live)
-Anyone else you claim as a dependent on your tax return
-Anyone who will be applying for a green card and arriving to the United States with your spouse
-Anyone else you are sponsoring on a separate Affidavit of Support
LOW INCOME: WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
If the sponsor does not meet the government’s minimum annual income requirement, it is possible to enlist a secondary co-sponsor (a person outside the household), also known as a “joint sponsor” who is willing to accept full financial responsibility for the individual who is seeking the green card.
Boundless has helped many families who have utilized joint sponsors. They typically are family members but can also be friends or colleagues. Boundless’ joint sponsor guide provides information on what a joint sponsor may be needed, the financial responsibilities associated with joint sponsorship, and how to include this information in your application.
Not sure if you need a joint sponsor? You can check if you meet the minimum income requirement with Boundless’ simple questionnaire. When you’re ready to apply, Boundless can guide you through every stage of the marriage-based green card process, including your joint sponsor forms. Learn more, or start your application.
Need help with your immigration journey? Boundless offers premium immigration support at affordable prices.
AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT FORMS, EXPLAINED
An important aspect of applying for a family-based visa or K-1 fiancé visa is completing the financial sponsorship forms. These forms prove the sponsor is willing to take financial responsibility for the visa applicant, and that the sponsor is able to meet the government’s income requirements.
DOCUMENTING YOUR FINANCES
An important aspect of completing the financial sponsorship forms is providing supporting documents to prove your income. The required documents may vary depending on your specific circumstances, however Boundless has put together a detailed guide on the most common documents and how to obtain them. We’ve also got a tax-specific guide for all of your tax document questions.
If you choose to work with Boundless, our team of immigration specialists takes out the guesswork of the process and provides you with a personalized financial document checklist. Our team also reviews each document to make sure they meet government requirements and standards. Learn more, or get started now.
DOCUMENTING NON-STANDARD INCOME
There are a variety of different income sources an applicant can include on their financial sponsorship forms to prove they meet government requirements. If you have a non-standard source of income (such as contract work, retirement, etc.,) not to worry! We’ve put together a chart with examples of supporting documents to provide when documenting non-standard income:
DOCUMENTING YOUR ASSETS
When completing their affidavit of support, if a sponsor can’t satisfy the government’s minimum annual income requirement using regular income (like wages or salary), it’s possible to use assets instead.
Boundless explains the different kinds of assets that can be included in your green card applications in our guide here.
Calculating your total assets can be a bit tricky, with some general rules you’ll have to follow. We’ve created an assets worksheet to simplify the process, so you can be confident in your calculations.
Requesting an employment verification letter
An employment verification letter is a common supporting document required as evidence in immigration applications. The letter itself is used to verify an applicant’s current (or previous) job status and other details about their employment and income status. For information on how to request an employment verification letter, what details it should include, and more, check out Boundless’ guide.
PAYING YOUR GOVERNMENT FEES
When it comes time to file your application, you will likely be required to pay processing fees directly to the U.S. government. Processing fees vary depending on the forms you are filing, and some may even be waived depending on your financial situation.
Boundless breaks down common immigration forms and what you can expect to pay for processing fees in our guide here.
Not sure what costs to expect? Boundless’ USCIS fee calculator can help determine the exact government fees for your application. We also help you pay your costs over time, so you can get started now and pay later. Create a free account to use our fee calculator and explore your payment options.
Moving to a new country and navigating a different financial system can be a challenge. Boundless put together some helpful finance tips and resources below to help ease the transition.
GETTING A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
In order to legally work in the U.S., all individuals (whether you’re a green card holder or work visa holder) must obtain a Social Security number (SSN). Boundless’ guide explains the general Social Security number process and how to apply once you’re in the U.S..
NAVIGATING THE U.S. BANKING SYSTEM
Need information on how to set up a bank account in the U.S.? Boundless has you covered! Check our guide on navigating the U.S. banking system as an immigrant.
GETTING HEALTH INSURANCE AS AN IMMIGRANT
The U.S. healthcare system is complex and can be difficult to navigate for even native-born Americans, let alone new immigrants. Understanding your health insurance options and how to obtain affordable coverage is often top of mind for immigrants and their families. Check out Boundless’ healthcare guide and the federal healthcare marketplace for more helpful information.
The following resources may be helpful as well depending on your specific needs:
Building credit is an important step in establishing a financial footprint in the U.S.. Boundless’ guide covers the benefits of building credit, how to obtain debit and credit cards, and other general credit tips for new immigrants.
FILING TAXES AS AN IMMIGRANT
As a new immigrant, you may be wondering what your responsibilities are in terms of filing federal income taxes and what to expect the first time around. Boundless has put together a comprehensive guide for filing taxes as an immigrant, and we dive deeper into the subject with our taxes data report.
Understanding the FICA Tax Refund
The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) is a federal payroll tax in the U.S. which contributes income to Social Security and Medicare. All U.S. citizens are required to pay the FICA tax, however many immigrants may qualify for a FICA tax refund depending on their immigration status.
To learn more about the FICA tax and to check whether you’re eligible for a refund, check out Boundless’ guide.
FEDERAL PROGRAMS AND BENEFITS
With immigration policies such as the “Public Charge” rule, and other common misconceptions around public benefits, it can be difficult for immigrants to determine which federal programs they may be eligible to apply for. For additional clarity on the use of government benefits, you can search for different programs and check your eligibility directly on the U.S. government’s official benefits site. There is even a specific section of the site dedicated to immigrants and refugees.
IMMIGRANTS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Immigrant entrepreneurs and business owners play a key role in driving job creation and a subsequent healthy economy in the U.S.. Boundless’ data report on immigration and entrepreneurship dives deeper into this topic.
NAVIGATING FINANCIAL INSECURITY DURING THE CITIZENSHIP PROCESS
Becoming a naturalized citizen is the last step in your immigration journey and an important milestone during your life in the U.S.. There are many benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen, such as the right to vote, the wider availability of public assistance programs, and the ability to work in certain government positions.
If you’re interested in applying for citizenship but currently facing financial hardship, USCIS has put together a resource for low-income naturalization applicants that includes helpful tips, suggestions for community-based assistance, free information sessions, and more. You may also be eligible for a government filing fee waiver or reduction based on your income level.
If you are currently experiencing homelessness, or do not have a stable address or government-issued identification, USCIS has also released a fact sheet with information on how to navigate these challenges during the citizenship process.
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