In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers the question of a reader who wishes to emigrate to his parents.
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 U.S. citizen and wish to petition for my parents who have always lived in Mexico. I am married and we have two children. I work for a supermarket in Colorado and earn $47,800 per year. I have never helped other people immigrate to the U.S. Do I have enough income to sponsor my parents? Ernesto C.
Ernesto, your current salary is enough to sponsor your parents.
When you are ready to file, you will need to submit an Affidavit of Support, commonly called an Affidavit of Support, detailing your information and that of the person you are petitioning for. Along with that letter you will need to submit evidence that you are a U.S. citizen and your most recent tax return showing that you earn more than $41,200.
The federal government annually publishes an income guideline, based on the poverty index, to determine the minimum that a sponsor must earn.
Since you are married and have two children, and you want to bring both your parents, you would be financially responsible for a total of six people, including yourself. According to this guide, you must currently have a salary of more than $41,200 in order to sponsor your parents.
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.
Letter of Support
The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that most people who immigrate to this country through a family petition, and in some cases for employment, must have a "financial sponsor" - a person who is financially responsible for that person.
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.
2017 Poverty Guidelines
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 Form I-864P, Poverty Guidelinesdetails the income required for a sponsor.
For example, in 2017, 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 four, including the immigrant he or she is sponsoring, is $30,750.
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.
Consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.