Joint Sponsor Checklist of Documents

Joint sponsor checklist of required documents

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Who is a joint sponsor?

In U.S. immigration law, a joint sponsor is someone who agrees to take financial responsibility for an intending immigrant.

An intending immigrant is the person for whom a family member, employer, or other sponsor is petitioning for permanent residence (green card).

This typically applies to family-sponsored immigrants or employment-based immigrants when the original sponsor (petitioner) does not meet the financial requirements to support the immigrant.

For example, in family-based immigration, the petitioner (sponsor) may need a joint sponsor if their income does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. government to support the intending immigrant. 

The joint sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, and they need to meet the income and sponsorship requirements. 

The joint sponsor’s financial information is used to supplement the original sponsor’s financial standing, ensuring that the immigrant has adequate financial support to avoid becoming a public charge.

Who needs a joint sponsor?

A joint sponsor is typically needed in U.S. immigration cases when the original sponsor (petitioner) does not meet the financial requirements to support the intending immigrant. 

Here are some situations where a joint sponsor might be required:

  • Family-Based Immigration:
    • In family-sponsored immigration, the petitioner (sponsor) must demonstrate the ability to financially support the intending immigrant. If the petitioner’s income is insufficient to meet the required threshold, a joint sponsor can be used to supplement the financial support
  • Employment-Based Immigration:
    • In certain employment-based immigration categories, financial sponsorship requirements may need to be met. If the sponsoring employer or petitioner does not meet these requirements, a joint sponsor may be necessary
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
    • The Affidavit of Support is a legally binding contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government, ensuring that the immigrant will not become a public charge. If the original sponsor’s income falls below the required level, a joint sponsor can step in to provide additional financial support.

Joint sponsor requirements

To be eligible to act as a joint sponsor, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency:
      • The joint sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
  • Age and Domicile:
      • The joint sponsor must be at least 18 years old and must be living in the U.S.
  • Financial Eligibility:
      • The joint sponsor must have an income that is at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines for their household size. This requirement is designed to ensure that the joint sponsor has the financial means to support both their own household and the intending immigrant
  • Legal Obligation:
      • By signing the Affidavit of Support, the joint sponsor is making a legally binding commitment to provide financial support to the sponsored immigrant. This obligation continues until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, has earned or can be credited with 40 quarters of work, dies, or leaves the U.S. permanently
  • Documentation of Income:
    • The joint sponsor must provide documentation to prove their income, which include federal tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, and other relevant financial documents

Joint sponsor checklist of required documents

When acting as a joint sponsor for an immigrant in the U.S., the following documents must be provided:

Required evidence

Acceptable documents

Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)
  • The completed Form I-864 signed by the joint sponsor 
Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency If joint sponsor is a green card holder:

  • Green card (front and back), or
  • Stamped immigrant visa

If joint sponsor is a U.S. citizen (at least one of the following):

  • U.S. birth certificate (if born in the U.S.);
  • Certificate of Naturalization;
  • Certificate of Citizenship;
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (only if the joint sponsor was born abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s)); or
  • Unexpired U.S. passport (biographic page)
Proof of income
  • Tax return transcripts for the last  year from the IRS (can be obtained online
  • W-2s for both spouses (if applicable) and/or 1099 forms for the last year
  • Pay stubs for the last 12 months
  • A letter of employment on company letterhead stating the beginning date of employment, position title, number of hours worked per week and salary or wages paid, either hourly or yearly
  • If a joint sponsor is self-employed:
    • A letter from an accountant stating the joint sponsor’s self-employment status and a copy of business license or business registration documents (if applicable)
    • Schedule C, D, E, or F from the most recent tax return 
Proof of assets (only if joint sponsor doesn’t meet the minimum income requirements)
  • Statements for the last 12 months (for example, CD account, investment account statements)
  • Proof of ownership and date of purchase (for example, title, property deed, registration, etc.)
  • Proof of value (for example, recent appraisal completed by a licensed appraisal)

Related Links:

What is a Joint Sponsor – Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)

How to Fill Out Affidavit of Support – Form I-864

How to Count Household Size for I-864 (Affidavit of Support)