Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status? Overview

“Who can sponsor for adjustment of status?” is a great question to ask yourself before filing form I-485. Not every adjustment of status applicant will need a sponsor but for those who do, there are certain minimum income requirements. Each year the U.S. government publishes the federal poverty guidelines on form I-864P Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support. The point of having a sponsor is to prevent the intending immigrant from relying on public benefits should he or she fall into poverty. Rather, the sponsor will be financially responsible for support in these circumstances.

Do You Need a Sponsor?

Form I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government. Most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants need this form.

Form I-864 NeededForm I-864 Not Needed
All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Parents of U.S. citizens

All family-based preference immigrants:

  • unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens
  • married children of U.S. citizens
  • spouses of lawful permanent residents
  • unmarried adult children of lawful permanent residents
  • brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens

Employment-based preference immigrants:

  • U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S. national  relative filed immigrant visa petition; or
  • U.S citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S. national owns 5% or more ownership interest in the petitioning company.
VAWA self-petitioners

Self-petitioning widows or widowers

Special immigrants

Intending immigrants who have earned 40 qualifying quarters of  work in the U.S.

Any intending immigrant who will acquire U.S. citizenship upon admission

Diversity immigrants

Refugees and asylees

Immigrants applying under the Cuban Adjustment Act

Haitians adjusting under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 and the Help Haiti Act of 2010

Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status? Basic Eligibility Requirements

A sponsor must be:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident.
  • domiciled in any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or any territory of possession of the United States
  • petitioning for admission of the intending immigrant
  • able to demonstrate the means to maintain an annual income equal to at least 125% (100% for active duty military members) of the federal poverty line

A sponsor does not have to be related to you. A sponsor’s income may be wages, business income, retirement benefits or any other type of lawfully obtained income. If the income is insufficient assets may be used.

Joint Sponsors, Household Members and Substitute Sponsors

If the petitioner’s income is insufficient, a joint sponsor can be used to assist in meeting the income requirements. The joint sponsor must meet the same eligibility requirements as the petitioner/sponsor and complete form I-864. If the additional sponsor is a member of the petitioner’s household, that person would be classified as a household member and would complete form I-864A.

A substitute sponsor is used when the petitioner passes away before all qualified family members have immigrated. A substitute sponsor must be related to you and be either your spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in law, sibling, child (at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or the legal guardian.

Affidavit of Support Immigration Attorney

My name is Cheryl Fletcher and I have been an immigration attorney since 2015. I have been assisting families successfully navigate the complex immigration process. After reading this article you should have a better understanding of who can sponsor an adjustment of status applicant.  An immigration attorney  is invaluable during this process. I would like the opportunity to work with you.

Cheryl-Fletcher Who Can Sponsor for Adjustment of Status?