How much income is needed to sponsor a family member?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column I answer a question from a reader who wants to emigrate with his wife and daughter.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I am a permanent resident of the United States and I am petitioning for my wife and 14 year old daughter who live in Peru. I work in a restaurant in Florida and earn $23,400 annually. I have never helped other people immigrate to the U.S. Do I have enough income to sponsor my family members? Jesus Z.

Jesus, your current salary is not enough to sponsor your wife and daughter. You will have to increase your income or find a person who is willing to co-sponsor to help you migrate your family members.

When your family members apply for an immigrant visa in the future, you will need to file an Affidavit of Support. There you will detail your information and that of the people you are petitioning for. Along with that letter you will need to submit evidence that you are a permanent resident of the United States and your most recent tax return showing that you earn more than required by U.S. immigration law.

The federal government annually publishes an income guideline, based on the poverty index, to determine the minimum a sponsor must earn.

Since you wish to emigrate your wife and daughter, you would be financially responsible for a total of three people, including yourself. According to that guide, you must currently have a salary equal to or greater than $26,662 in order to sponsor your wife and daughter. Unless you increase your income or find the help of a co-sponsor you will not be able to emigrate your relatives.

Letter of Support

U.S. immigration law provides that most persons immigrating to the United States on a family petition, and in some cases for employment, must have a "financial sponsor".

With the Letter of Support, an immigrant's sponsor swears that he or she will provide adequate financial support for the immigrant's livelihood and pledges to prevent the immigrant from becoming a public charge after entering the United States.

This commitment is established through the Form I-864, Affidavit of Financial Sponsorship Under Section 213A of the INA. This document is a legal contract between the person sponsoring an immigrant and the U.S. Government.

The federal government will not approve certain cases if a Letter of Support is not submitted. This is a requirement that cannot be avoided.

2019 Poverty Guidelines

The Form I-864P, Poverty Guidelinesdetails the income required for a sponsor.

The sponsor must have a certain annual income or minimum assets above the U.S. poverty level to demonstrate that he or she can support his or her household.

The income guidelines vary depending on the size of the sponsor's family, whether that person is in the military, or lives in Alaska and Hawaii.

For example, effective March 1, 2019, the annual income the federal government requires for a sponsor who is not in the military, resides in one of the states or U.S. territories except Alaska and Hawaii, and has a nuclear family of six, including the immigrant he or she is sponsoring, is $43.237.


If the sponsor does not have sufficient income or assets to sponsor the immigrant, the sponsor may seek a co-sponsor to assist them.

Like the sponsor, the co-sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have the annual income or assets required by immigration law.

Please consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.