What Is a K-1 Joint Sponsor?
A breakdown of the eligibility requirements and responsibilities of a K-1 financial co-sponsor
One major requirement during the K-1 fiancé visa process is proving the U.S. citizen fiancé (or “sponsor”) has enough income and financial means to support the foreign-born fiancé during their time in the United States.
If you’re worried about your income level or it is likely you’ll be unable to satisfy the financial requirements during the immigration process, you may consider enlisting a “joint sponsor” or “co-sponsor” on your K-1 visa application.
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What Is a K-1 Joint Sponsor?
A financial co-sponsor (also known as a “joint sponsor“) can be anyone who meets the government’s K-1 visa income requirements and is willing to accept full financial responsibility for the K-1 visa applicant. Financial joint sponsors do not need to be a family member or relative of either the sponsor or the K-1 visa applicant. Joint sponsors are typically individuals outside of your couple’s household. However, the joint sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. green card holder, at least 18 years old, and currently residing in the United States.
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When Is a K-1 Joint Sponsor Needed?
If you and your fiancé are unable to demonstrate that you satisfy the minimum annual income requirement for your household size, it is possible to include a joint sponsor on your application. As of 2023, the minimum income requirement for K-1 visa applications is $19,720 for a household size of two — 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines income level.
What Are the Responsibilities of a K-1 Joint Sponsor?
In order to be considered a joint sponsor on a K-1 visa application, the joint sponsor must complete and file Form I-134 (Declaration of Financial Support).
Form I-134 requires that the joint sponsor provide detailed personal information, such as including one’s name, Social Security number, and proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. The form also includes questions on the joint sponsor’s employment status, financial assets, and income. Form I-134 is generally accompanied by supporting documentation, which prove the accuracy of the joint sponsor’s responses.
Completing and filing Form I-134 demonstrates to the U.S. government that the joint sponsor formally and legally promises to financially support the K1 visa applicant during their time in the United States.
Starting January 29, 2024, USCIS will only accept the 11/09/2023 edition of Form I-134. Make sure to check USCIS instructions and the form for the edition date before filing.
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Not all K-1 visa applications allow for joint sponsors. For example, applicants specifically from the Philippines and Thailand are unable to enlist joint sponsors for their K1 applications. If you’re unsure whether you can include a joint sponsor on your application, it is best to contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate where your application will be processed to ensure joint sponsors may be included before applying.
Yes, it is possible to use the same joint sponsor on both the initial K1 visa petition and the marriage green card application later on. It is important to note that as part of the adjustment of status (green card) process, the joint sponsor must complete an additional financial sponsorship form, Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support).
Form I-864 has a higher minimum annual income requirement than Form I-134 — the joint sponsor must demonstrate 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines income level, rather than 100% required during the K-1 visa process.