Green Card Minimum Income Requirements

Your most recent Federal income tax return is the core document normally required to sponsor a foreigner for a green card.

Allan Scott Lolly

managing attorney

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Green Card Minimum Income Requirements

1. Stable Earnings

Generally, you must show enough income during a calendar year so that your tax returns will show more than the minimum required.

The type of work has a bearing on stability. Income that is just over the minimum green card income requirements is less stable than a greater income level. Income from seasonal work will tend to be less stable than full-time employment throughout the year. Unemployment earning count as earnings. However, unemployment is not stable earnings. Unemployment earnings combined with a new job can possibly show stability. Retirement benefits, VA benefits, Social Security retirement or disability are all good sources of earnings, but not SSI. Welfare payments can disqualify you from immigrating your fiance.

It is commonly thought you are required to produce 3 years worth of tax returns, but your most recent personal income tax returns are the most important core document under consideration. Prior years are only relevant to help show stability and a history of earnings. The amount of income in prior years is not generally very important.

For green card processing, income must be proved at the time of submission. This gives you time on the job to build stable earnings while your case is in process.

Allan Scott Lolly

managing attorney

2. US Based Earnings

The income must be U.S. based earnings. An exception is for U.S. military stationed or on deployment overseas, and also for Department of Defense contractors. Very few others qualify based on earnings abroad. Sometimes, we can finesse a case where the U.S. citizen is working abroad on temporary assignment, but is paid by a U.S. company.

3. Assets in lieu of Earnings

For green cards and immigrant visas, it can be possible to show enough liquid assets and home equity assets as a substitute for income earnings. The amount of assets required is more than three (3) times earnings. It can be possible to supplement income earnings with assets to help meet the minimum income requirements. Assets can also help show stability where earnings are modest. The idea is to show more than the minimum required if possible in order to help show stable U.S. earnings for financial sponsorship.

4. Financial Joint Sponsorship

A financial joint sponsor is allowed green card applications. A joint sponsor is used where the petitioning U.S. citizen is unable to meet income guidelines on his or her own.

5. Amount of Income

What income is? It is gross earnings after business deductions as reported on your personal income tax returns.

The amount of income required is based on poverty guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services, and is based on the total number of dependents of you and your spouse. If using a financial joint sponsor, all joint sponsor dependents must be counted.

6. The Trump Administration has added a further consideration:

Whether the foreigner is at risk of becoming a “public charge.” A public charge is someone who received certain U.S. welfare benefits. Even though the foreigner may not have received welfare benefits in the past, the new public charge rule examines whether that might happen in the future in the U.S. The foreigner must convince the USCIS immigration agency that there is little risk of becoming a public charge.

The public charge requirement stands independent of the minimum income required of the U.S. petitioner for sponsorship on a green card. A strong showing of financial sponsorship well above the minimum income requirement helps the foreigner prove to the U.S. immigration authorities that the immigrant will not become a public charge. In this sense, joint sponsors who have a close relationship with the U.S. petitioner will be more trusted to help keep the foreigner off welfare than a distant relative or friend who does not have close family ties to the U.S. petitioner-sponsor.

2022 Green Card Guidelines

48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

Persons in family / household
Poverty guideline
2
$22,887
3
$28,787
4
$34,687
5
$40,587
6
$46,487
7
$52,387
8
$58,287

For families / households with more than 8 persons, add $5,900 for each additional person.

Alaska

Persons in family / household
Poverty guideline
2
$28,612
3
$35,987
4
$43,362
5
$50,737
6
$58,112
7
$65,487
8
$72,862

For families / households with more than 8 persons, add $7,375 for each additional person.

Hawaii

Persons in family / household
Poverty guideline
2
$26,325
3
$33,112
4
$39,900
5
$46,687
6
$53,475
7
$60,262
8
$67,050

For families / households with more than 8 persons, add $6,787  for each additional person.


We are here to help. Call to discuss your situation. Consider attorney representation carefully before proceeding with immigration processing. Initial consultation is FREE.


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