Calculating the household size for Form I864, Affidavit of Support


The Affidavit of Support is a legally required form for family-based immigrant petitions to prove that the intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and is unlikely to become a public charge. By signing an affidavit of support, a sponsor agrees to provide an intending immigrant financial support at 125% of the poverty level. A financial sponsor must be at least 18 years old and either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The sponsor must also have a domicile (residence) in the United States.


Many visa applicants, sponsors, and immigration attorneys consider the Affidavit of Support to be one of the most difficult U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms to prepare. USCIS routinely rejects Form I-864, or issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) or denial, as a result of incorrectly prepared and unsupported Affidavits of Support. Therefore, to avoid an unfavorable outcome it is important to complete the form I864 accurately and to provide sufficient documentation.


To prove that the intending immigrant is unlikely to become a public charge (primarily dependent on the U.S. government for financial assistance) a financial sponsor will need to prove income that meets the minimum Federal poverty guideline income requirement based on their household size.


When the primary sponsor cannot meet the income requirement, the sponsor will generally need to count assets, use a joint sponsor’s income, or add the income of a qualifying household member. A joint sponsor who can meet the income requirements will need to submit a I-864 form to sponsor all or some of the family members. A maximum of two joint sponsors can be used per family unit intending to immigrate based upon the same petition. If two joint sponsors are used, each joint sponsor is responsible only for the intending immigrant(s) listed on the joint sponsor’s Form I-864.


To determine the minimum income requirement, the Form I-864 asks for the financial sponsor’s household size. When calculating a financial sponsor's household size, sponsors must include:

  • Their spouse,

  • Any unmarried minor children by birth, marriage, or adoption – even if you do not have legal custody of the child and even if the child does not live with you so long as you have a legal obligation to support the child.

  • Anyone else claimed as a dependent on the sponsor's tax return for the most recent year, regardless of whether they are related to the sponsor or have the same principal address as the sponsor,

  • All persons being sponsored in this I864, i.e., the principal visa applicant (intending immigrant) and all of the visa applicant’s accompanying dependents. Accompanying dependents are any minor children or spouse of the visa applicant (intending immigrant) whom plan to immigrate within six months of the visa applicant.

  • Any immigrants previously sponsored with a Form I864 or Form I864EZ affidavit of support whom you are still obligated to support. Count any person in the United States with a green card whom the sponsor is supporting on a different Form I-864. A sponsor does not have to include people on other Forms I-864 who have not yet immigrated to the United States because their visa has not yet been approved, therefore the financial obligation has not yet begun. A sponsor also does not have to include people on other Forms I-864 who are now U.S. citizens because becoming a U.S. citizen terminates the obligation of the financial sponsor under the Form I-864.

  • Any nondependent siblings, parents, or adult children who reside in the sponsor's household, if you are including their income when you calculate your household income for purposes of meeting the income requirement. To be considered, any relative indicated in this category must sign and submit a Form I-864A.


**Do not count an individual more than once even if they fit into multiple categories. **


There is no specific limit on the number of immigrants a person may financially sponsor. This means that if you want to financially sponsor multiple intending immigrants, you are allowed to file multiple affidavits of support, even during the same time. The only effect that having multiple affidavits of support for multiple intending immigrants will have, is that it may potentially increase the household size and therefore increase the minimum income requirement. However, the household size will only increase if the sponsored immigrant’s green card is approved, and if the financial obligation has not yet been terminated by (1) the green card holder becoming a U.S. citizen, (2) death of the sponsored immigrant, (3) revocation of the sponsored immigrant’s green card by an Immigration Judge, or (4) the sponsored immigrant works at least 40 quarters (usually 10 years) of social security benefits in the United States. In other words, the mere signing of Form I-864 does not impose any legal or financial obligations on the sponsor. The intending immigrant must actually acquire permanent resident status in order for the obligations of the sponsor to take effect and once the obligation has expired the financial sponsor is no longer required to add them into their household size as a previously sponsored immigrant, although it is possible that the intending immigrant will continue to be a part of the household size if they are otherwise a dependent of the financial sponsor such as a spouse, minor child, or claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.


Example: A financial sponsor may file an affidavit of support for his (2) adult children, a friend, and a son-in-law all at the same time. He will file separate Forms I864 for each intending immigrant and since he is filing at the same time, he will not add the other intending immigrants to his household size for the other Forms I864 because they all have not been approved for their green cards as yet. The financial obligations only begin once the intending immigrant's green card has been approved. What if the financial sponsor filed for his wife and other adult children who are now U.S. citizens prior to filing these additional Forms I864? A spouse will always be added to the household size, and U.S. citizen adult children will only be added to the household size if they are dependents on the financial sponsors' latest income tax return.


An experienced immigration lawyer can review your case and guide you through the process to avoid filing errors and help you obtain your desired outcome. We have helped people nationwide to accomplish their immigration goals. Give us a call for a confidential case evaluation: 321-325-1125



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