November 9, 2009: Affidavit of Support Issues For a Disabled Petitioner

Affidavit of Support Issues For a Disabled Petitioner

I want to marry someone from another country, but I understand I need tax returns for three years to marry. I have been disabled for 15 years can I still marry this person?
— Anonymous

You can marry this person so long as you are legally able to marry in accordance with the laws in the state where you reside. Since this person is from another country, and it appears you are inquiring about petitioning for this person, as part of the petitioning process, you will have to fill out a Form I-864 and provide proof that your income and/or assets meet 125% of the poverty guidelines for your household size.

Generally, petitioners need to provide evidence that they meet this requirement by including their most recent tax return (1040) with all attachments (W-2, 1099, schedules, etc.) along with a few recent pay stubs and an original job letter. If, for example, you are disabled and not working, you should provide proof of any and all money you receive from the government, pensions, insurance, etc. If this alternative ‘income’ meets 125% of the poverty guidelines for your household size, then you are fine. However, if it does not, you have several options. You can use a combination of your income and assets (savings, Certificates of Deposit, equity in a home, etc.).

You may also use the intending immigrant’s income or any other household member’s income and combine it with your income to meet the household income requirement. If that does not work, you may find a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident who is willing to be a joint sponsor.

A joint sponsor must meet the income requirements on their own and provide proof of their income in the same form as mentioned above. Because of the importance of properly filing the Affidavit of Support, it may be wise to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to review the entire process with you before you file any paperwork with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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