When filing for an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, it is common to also file an I-864A Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member[1] and an I-864 Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA.[2]. Most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants file these forms to show that they have financial support and therefore will not be likely to rely on financial support from the U.S. government.

For more information about being a financial sponsor visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.[3]

Some required documentation for these two forms include:

  • Tax returns, pay stubs, and W2 from the principal immigrant (beneficiary)
  • Tax returns, pay stubs, and W2 from the sponsor (this may be the beneficiary’s spouse or relative in a family-based case)
  • If filing with a joint sponsor – tax returns, pay stubs, and W2 from the joint sponsor
  • Letters from employer for both the sponsor and joint sponsor (if possible)
  • If the relationship of the sponsor or joint sponsor is not obvious, then provide signed affidavits detailing the relationship
  • Identification documents for the beneficiary, such as copy of passport
  • Identification documents for the sponsor and joint sponsor for proof of U.S. citizenship, such as Certificate of Citizenship, U.S. passport, or U.S. birth certificate

2018 HHS Poverty Guidelines

Below is a chart for the 2018 HHS Poverty Guidelines[4] to determine the minimum income required in order to sponsor most family-based and some employment-based immigrants (this excludes Alaska and Hawaii). Please make sure to check for updated guidelines annually:

As noted earlier, principal immigrants must provide information about their tax returns and annual income (or state if they have zero income). This is necessary for form I-864A. However, what if they did not make enough to file taxes?

How much income do you have to make to file taxes?

This is an important question to know when filing any form that asks for either the principal immigrant, sponsor, or joint sponsors Federal income tax returns. The minimum income depends on your tax filing status and age. Below is a full list of income thresholds that generally do not require an individual to file a federal income tax return:

Single filing status:

  • $10,400 if under age 65
  • $11,950 if age 65 or older

Married filing jointly:

  • $20,800 if both spouses under age 65
  • $22,050 if one spouse under age 65 and one age 65 or older
  • $23,300 if both spouses age 65 or older

Married filing separately:

  • $4,050 for all ages

Head of household:

  • $13,400 if under age 65
  • $14,950 if age 65 or older

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child:

  • $16,750 if under age 65
  • $18,000 if age 65 or older

If your income is below the threshold, filing is generally not needed. However, you might be required to file for other reasons, such as if you’re self-employed or paid on a 1099-MISC form. Another factor is if you bought health insurance from a state or federal marketplace. Even if you meet the minimum threshold, you may still consider filing for reasons such as receiving a refund of withheld income taxes or benefiting from earned income tax credit.[5]