Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 Poverty Guidelines published

The US Department of Health and Human Services has published its poverty guidelines for 2009. The guidelines for the 48 contiguous states and DC are:

1 person in family: $10,830
2 people: $14,570
3 people: $18,310
4 people: $22,050
5 people: $25,790
6 people: $29,530
7 people:$33,270
8 people: $37,010

Alaska has different levels.

These guidelines are relevant in immigration law because family-based permanent resident applications require an Affidavit of Support from the "sponsoring" relative. The relative must show that s/he has income or assets worth at least 125% of the relevant poverty guideline figure. So, for example, a woman in New York who is petitioning for her husband and his child needs to show income/assets of at least $22,887.50 to meet the I-824, Affidavit of Support requirements.


  1. Hello , This Vanessa from Brazil . I´m glad that I found this great blog today .

    Is this poverty guideline the same one that show at the USCIS webpage ?

    Because my husband and I are applying for the k3 visa this year and I would like to recieve some infos about financial support.

    We had a law before but he only took our money , and didnt do anything for us , we called him several times and different days .... he doesnt return our phone calls at all ... he is a such money eater , but anyway we had just sent the papres last week again.

    Thnks for your help

  2. Thanks for your inquiry, and I'm very glad that you found my blog to be helpful. The poverty guidelines listed above are those that are used by CIS for the Affidavit of Support. The US citizen sponsor needs to show income of at least 125% of the relevant poverty guideline for the household size, or show other assets if income is not enough. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

  3. Hi, my name is cici. i am glad to find a useful blog like yours because i was beginning to get confused with all the different conflicting instrucions on how the sponsorship thing works. my self and my fiance are in the process of applying for a k1 visa. The problem is that she currently does not have a job even though her tax return shows that she made close to $80,000 in the last two years in her former job.She lost her job about seven months ago.Also can you please let me know if her parents alone can act as a sponsor for me. lastly, can you tell me if student loan accounts for income thanks.

  4. Cici,

    Student loans are not income, so they can't be counted. Your fiancee's parents can be joint sponsors, if they meet all the sponsor requirements. See my other post about this:

  5. Hi Glad I found this webpage ! I am applying for
    K-1 Visa at the end of the year and my query is How child support from a previous marriage is calculated in the poverty guidelines. I am sponsoring my fiancee and her daughter from Vietnam and I currently pay approx $540 total a month for two children from a previous marriage.
    Both do not live with me. I'm curious what is the minimum income I need before I apply with immigration. I am a California resident.
    Thanks in advance for any response. Michael Moore

  6. Michael,

    If your 2 children are considered "dependents", then your household size, including your fiancee and child, is 5. You need to make $32,238 which is 125% of the poverty guideline for a household of 5.

  7. Thanks Elaine for the above response to my question concerning income. How long do I need to be at that income level before I can safely apply? Thanks again, Michael Moore

  8. Michael - there is no set period of time during which you need to have been meeting the poverty level.

  9. what's the poverty line (125%) for a household of more than 8. I have to sponsor my sister's family, (total 6) on top of my family that's already here. Household of 10. What's the limit of that?

  10. Raza - you need to add $3,740 for each additional person over 8. See the link to the DHSS site included in my article above.

  11. Hi I am hoping that you can help answer this question for me. I'm an american citezen filed an i130 for my husband while i was staying in india for 90 days. it was approved . Now I have a question about the affadavit of support. My income was not sufficient as i made just 6,000. My mother is willing to be a joint sponsor but has only child support income of 500. monthly. She owns her house which is an asset of 51,000. dollars. She has her last three years tax papers showing she made 5000. on her 2008 taxes and both 2007 and 2006 were 12,000 each. Shes no longer employed though. Can she still qualify as a joint sponser?
    Also my husband(in india) can show his assets of about 80,000 dollars in property. Can this work for us ?
    so to sum it up.
    mom has assets of 51,000 dollars and 500. monthly income
    husband has 80,000 in property assets
    my income was just 6,000 last year

  12. Melinda - I cannot answer very specific questions via this blog. Your question requires a detailed analysis of your financial situation. Please contact me for a consultation if you like.

  13. HI Elaine, I have a children are US citizens and we live in NY,my daughter's income is not sufficient to sponsor me because her brother is only 16 and her dependent. Her father(American) owes more than one hundred thousand dollars in child support(the case is before court)Can the arrears be counted as additional access in the sponsorship?
    Thank you for any reply....

  14. Hello Ms. Martin, I'm very glad I found this blog of yours. I was hoping maybe you can answer my question as I am somewhat confuse with this financial support regarding fiance petitioning. I am planning on petitioning my fiance to come here in the US. I'm 21 and I have a full time job but I currently reside with my parents. There's 4 of us residing in this house. My question is, would I have to count my parents and my brother in the household count as part of the poverty guideline or would I only count myself and my fiance since I don't really support my parents and my brother financially?

  15. Hi Elaine,
    I have a question. I am a US citizen and I am have been married to a Mexican citizen for 2.5 years now. We also have a 2 year old child. I just found out about the affidavit of support form(because we have been asked by uscis to turn it in) and I was not aware that I would need to be showing my income. I hardly make anything, I think I made around 12,000 last year, but that is only because I choose to not work more. You see, I travel back and forth every few days between san diego and tijuana for work. I work in San Diego but I live in Tijuana with my husband and son. I am currently the only one working, because I am also in nursing school so it is just easier to have my husband watch our son. I only work pt right now and we make about 1,200 per month sometimes up to 2,000 per month but typically 1,200. Because we live in Tijuana, the amount that I make monthly is sufficient and I choose not to work more only because I don't need to and I want to be with my family as much as possible. I will be finished with my nursing program this April and will then be working in a hospital full time, so I will be making enough and we weren't expecting for my husband's paperwork to be finished until that time anyways so we will have enough to live on with or without him working(though he does plan to work). So...the question is, is there anything that we can really do? We don't have a co-sponsor.

  16. Ashley, please contact me via e-mail. I cannot answer specific questions via the blog.

  17. I am planning to petition my mother. She currently lives in Saipan (has an IR status) which is now a US territory. Do I need to file I-130 or the other form I-485?

  18. Lyn - you need to file an I-130. The 485 would be filed by your mother, but only if she lived in the US.

  19. hello, great site.

    My husband is american and iam canadaian. Our daughter was born in canada but has received dual citizen through birth abroud. Does that mean my husband just needs to show income eligibilty for me and him´. what would be his income requirement. if he doesnt meet that requirement if we have money in our savings can that be added.
    thank you dearly

  20. Anon - your husband needs to include your daughter if she is a dependent. The citizenship of the dependent does not matter. He can use savings, see here for details:

  21. what if your case was denied, because u cannot meet the poverty guideline, my wife not making enough and my co sponsor not making enough, and they give u 30 days, to come up with a affidavit a co sponsor, what happen next if u cannot meet that 30 days requirement,

  22. what if your case was denied, because u cannot meet the poverty guideline, my wife not making enough and my co sponsor not making enough, and they give u 30 days, to come up with a affidavit a co sponsor, what happen next if u cannot meet that 30 days requirement, my case is a motion to re open

  23. hi, i am a citizen applied for my sibbling, they got their LPR. applied for travel document and go back their home country. now they wanna come back. i don not have enough income to support them, when i told them about it. they said we will become public charge.that make me worried bcz i filed affidavit of support for them. plz help me how i can withdraw my affidavit of support and stop them entering the usa.

  24. Unfortunately you can't withdraw the Affidavit now that they have had LPR approved. Otherwise the Affidavit would be meaningless because everyone would withdraw it later.