Job Change After Submitting I-864 To NVC Negatively Affects Your Case?

Did you know that many Americans hold on to jobs they hate simply for health insurance benefits? It’s true. I only realized this after I moved to the U.S. and I’m guilty of this way of thinking as well. So, how will a job change after submitting I-864 affect your relative’s visa or green card application?

So, why the heck would someone stay in a job they don’t like for health insurance?

This was unbelievable to me before moving south of the border. In Canada, health care isn’t tied to employment. I never ever thought of staying in a job I didn’t like to keep my coverage because I had coverage no matter what.

When I move to the U.S., I realized quickly that I needed health insurance through my employer unless I wanted to fork over a lot of money every single month.’

So, if I decide to quit my job or a job change, I’ll also need to say goodbye to my health care coverage too.

Interestingly, it’s the same situation with U.S. immigration. Why? Well, if you want to sponsor a family member, you have to prove you make enough money to support them in the United States.

This means that you have to keep your job until the visa or green card application is approved.

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Job Change After I-864 To Part Time Employment

Although changing jobs is common today, there are still good reasons to stay put. One major reason is to be able to sponsor your family for a green card.

Without a stable income, USCIS will assume your relative will become a public charge and therefore, become inadmissible. This is why a job change before approval is so dangerous.

Another reason is to keep your health insurance! 🙂

Okay, that reason has nothing to do with U.S. immigration but it’s common sense and I thought I’d throw that out there.

Take a look at the stats below. It shows just how frequently workers in the U.S. change jobs. It’s now rare to find a job right out of college and continue to work there until retirement.

job change stats

So, what happens when you change jobs to a part-time position?

Well, your income will likely be cut in half. This will cause you to no longer meet the income requirement to sponsor your relative leaving you with two options:

Case Example:

Danielle met Francis in Paris a year ago. She filed the I-130 petition with USCIS which was approved in 5 months and sent to The National Visa Center (NVC). When she submitted the I-864 affidavit of support, she made $45,000 but soon she lost her job and was only able to find part time employment.

Danielle now makes $16,000 working part-time at a bookstore. She no longer meets the income requirement to sponsor Francis and will need a joint sponsor or find a better paying job.

If at all possible, try to keep the same job you had when you submitted the I-864 affidavit of support. A job change in the middle of your case processing timeline may cause you to get a request for evidence (RFE).

USCIS wants to see that you have stable income that will continue long after they approve the visa or green card for your family.

Job hopping or constantly losing a job will place you in a “high risk” category and the visa or green card may be denied due to inadmissibility finding.

Suck it up and stay employed!

Quitting Job To Go Back To School As The Sponsor

Sometimes, I wonder why people quit their job to go back to school full-time.

Not only are you giving up a steady income but now you’ll be living off of student loans. Going deeper and deeper into debt.

I’m not talking to those of you who have rich parents or are a brilliant mathematicians with a full scholarships, okay?

Once you submit the I-864 affidavit of support, you are guaranteeing your income will be available to support your family member’s immigration application.

You can’t just submit the affidavit and then quit your job the next day.

At least wait until your relative enters the U.S.. Then you can do whatever you’d like to do with your time.

Case Example:

Mike met and married Juliana who was here on an F1 student visa. They decided to file the I-130 and I-485 adjustment of status for her which also required that Mike submit I-864 affidavit of support. Since Mike worked full-time making g $34,000 he easily met the income requirement.

But the problem was that Mike hated his job as a data entry clerk. He wanted to go back to school for Engineering but was worried about how this would affect his sponsorship of his wife’s petition.

So in this case, Mike should wait until his wife’s green card is approved before he quits his job. This will make things easier for both of them in the short term. Once the green card is approved, Mike can quit his job and go back to school without issue.

Losing Your Job After Submitting I-864 Affidavit of Support

job change letter

Getting fired can be really hard on your ego and pocket book.

Most people can’t control this type of outcome, but if it does happen, make sure to get back on your feet quickly.

Yes, you can apply for unemployment but do you know how little they pay you? I doubt you can live as comfortably on half your income for too long.

Thankfully, you can use unemployment income for the I-864 but it may not be enough to meet the 125% of the poverty guidelines.

Besides, you want to show USCIS that you have stable long term income to support your family member for at least 3-5 years.

Case Example:

Marcus married his Canadian girlfriend in Montreal. After their I-130 petition was approved, he submitted the I-864 affidavit of support. At the time his income was $68,000 but two weeks later he lost his job with a medical device company.

Marcus is now unemployed and getting weekly benefits of $700 which is not enough to sponsor his wife and her two children. He will need to find another job quickly or a joint sponsor that will meet the income requirement.

As you can see, unemployment benefits are not meant to help you live a lavish comfortable life.

It’s there as a safety net that will help you get through a tough time in your life.

It’s temporary relief.

Marcus should look for another job quickly while he receiving unemployment benefits or will need to find a joint sponsor that will be willing to file another I-864.

Final Thoughts On Job Change After Submitting I-864

Whether you voluntarily quit your job, get laid off or take a part time job, one this is clear: a job change can negatively affect your case. You need to show stable income to sponsor a relative to be approved.

There is no way around this requirement.

If possible, don’t make any changes in your job situation until the visa or green card application is complete.

Don’t like your job? Too bad. You’ll need to sacrifice short term happiness for long term immigration benefits.

We are talking about bringing your family member to the U.S. as a permanent resident. That is worth so much more than instant gratification of telling your boss to screw it.

Finally, unemployment is usually not something you plan on but you can plan for it. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and you keep a network of people that can help you find another job.

Unemployment payments can be used as a form of income on the I-864 but these payments are not enough to meet the income requirements. Another alternative that we didn’t talk about is using assets instead of income.

Using assets may be a good idea for those of you who have large amounts of liquid assets or cash in the bank. USCIS wants to see where the money is coming from so you need to show bank statements for at least a year.

So, if you were thinking about using all that drug money you saved up in your closet, think again.

So, will you stay in your current job? If not, what do you plan to do about the income requirement? Let me know in the comments below.

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Ayan is a Somali born Canadian who has successfully immigrated to the United States and is passionate about helping fellow immigrants move to the U.S. to pursue their dreams. Whether you’re applying for a visa, green card or naturalization; get real answers to your immigration questions.

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