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“Hi this is immigration attorney Abhisha Parikh and today ill be discussing joint sponsorship.  When sponsoring immigrants for a green card in the US, the petitioner has to meet certain income guidelines in a family based case in order for immigration to be sure that the immigrant will not go on public assistance in the future. and if they do that, that the relative sponsor will be able to reimburse the federal government for any payments made, such as cash welfare, to the immigrant. many times when the US citizen or permanent resident sponsor is young, 18/19 years old or a student or just started working, they don’t meet the  minimum income requirements for support. in this situation, immigration allows the petitioner, in this case 18 or 19 year old to rely on the joint sponsor. the joint sponsor does not replace the petitioner in the actual visa application. the joint sponsor is only helping the petitioner qualify on the income requirements to sponsor the immigrant. a joint sponsor must be a US citizen or green card holder who lives in the US. The joint sponsor must also explain to USCIS what the relationship is between him/her and the petitioner. like the petitioner the joint sponsor must be willing to sign a contract, the I-864, agreeing to reimburse the federal government for any public assistance payments made to the immigrant in the next 10 years. in a spouse made green card situation even if the couple divorces, the joint sponsor will be on the hook for the full 10 year period. the joint sponsor must be willing to provide tax returns, proof of employment, or other assets if they are not currently working. USCIS will look at the joint sponsors income and compare to the joint sponsors total household size and then calculate what is required to show on the total income,  referring to the federal poverty guideline for the most recent year. For example, if someone is supporting 4 children and a spouse on their own income, their household size is going to increase to 7 people to include the immigrant. and they have to meet the minimum income for the household size. the poverty guidelines change every year , so its always wise to consult an attorney when you have a joint sponsor situation. “

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