I-134 Self Employed and Supporting Evidence to Include

Did you know the amount of evidence needed to sponsor an immigrant on form I-134 is almost as much as what’s need to buy a home? So, how difficult will it be to prove income when the sponsor on form I-134 self employed? It definitely makes things a bit more complicated.

Here’s how…

When you are self employed, you tend to try to reduce your tax burden by claiming enough business expenses (deductions) against your gross revenue (income).

This is great when you are trying to pay the least amount of money to the IRS but not so good if you want to show USCIS that you take home enough income to support someone else.

So, what does someone who is self employed do if the income they claimed on their taxes is not enough to for the I-134 affidavit of support? You have two options here:

  1. Use additional assets
  2. Find a joint sponsor

Of course, those are not the only options available to you. You could amend your prior year tax return and make adjustments so that you have more taxable income (and therefore owe money to the IRS).

I don’t expect too many self employed petitioners are willing to do this though! 😏

Case Example:

Rose met the love of her life Albert in Peru. After multiple trips back and forth, Rose and Albert decide to get engaged and begin the application process for the K1 visa.

Rose is currently self employed as a writer and journalist and gets paid for writing articles online. Her income is not stable and can vary greatly. Last year, her taxes showed that she earned $28,000 but had expenses of $10,000. This puts her taxable income as $18,000 which is below the requirement of $20,575 (2018) to sponsor her fiancé.

Proving Enough Income When Self Employed For I-134

When it comes to sponsoring your fiance or other relative for a nonimmigrant visa, money is important!

That’s right. USCIS is mainly interested in whether you can financially support the intending immigrant so that they don’t apply for means-tested benefits.

What is means-tested benefits? It’s basically government welfare. The last thing the US government wants to do is bring someone over here that will rely of the generosity of the US tax payer to sustain their lives here in America.

I-134 Self employedProving you make enough money for the affidavit of support I-134?

Simple. Most people use their tax returns to show how much money they made last year. It’s no different for those of you who are self employed.

Being self employed will not make it harder for you to sponsor someone on form I-134, it will just mean you will need to show more taxable income (before business deductions).

This is where many self employed petitioners get caught up.

Below is a table that shows the income requirement for the affidavit of support I-134. Remember, this amount can change from year to year so be sure to check the poverty guidelines form I-184P annually.

Household Size Annual Income Required
Active Military (100%) Civilians/Vets (125%)
2 $16,460.00 $20,575.00
3 $20,780.00 $25,975.00
4 $25,100.00 $31,375.00
5 $29,420.00 $36,775.00
6 $33,740.00 $42,175.00
7 $38,060.00 $47,575.00
8 $42,380.00 $52,975.00

Okay, now that we know how much income is needed to sponsor your fiancĂ© on I-134 affidavit of support, let’s take a look at some of the evidence needed to prove your self employed income.

Evidence Needed For Self Employed For I-134

Without sufficient evidence to prove you really do make the income you claim you do, your fiance’s K1 visa will not be approved. This is why submitting enough evidence of self employed income is so important.

  • Business tax returns (at least 2 years)
    • This should be #1 on your list of evidence to include. If you are sole proprietor, then you can use personal income tax since you would claim the income directly. But, for those of you who have incorporated, be sure to include your business tax returns for the last 2 years.
  • Bank statements
    • Showing how much cash you have in the bank can be very helpful if your income varies a lot month-to-month. This helps USCIS to determine whether you have a nice cash cushion or reserve to fall back on if one month is really rough for you. Try to show bank statements from at least 3 or 4 different months out of the year.
  • Asset statements
    • Although assets are only required if your income is not enough to meeting the minimum income requirement, some people choose to include it anyway. Showing a lot more income and assets than what’s required doesn’t really help your case. USCIS just wants to see that you meet the income requirement not that you are rich.
  • Investment accounts
    • Using investment accounts is similar to other assets classes but they need to be liquid. This means that you can easily convert them to cash within 12 months. If it will take longer to sell the investment, than USCIS will not consider it when calculating the income requirement.

Other evidence you can include for a stronger K1 visa case:

  • Business incorporation documents
  • Profit and loss statement
  • Earnings statement
  • Letter from your CPA

If you provide enough evidence of your self employed income, you shouldn’t have too much trouble sponsoring your fiancĂ© for the K1 visa.

Do I Need A Joint Sponsor If I Am Self Employed?

Affidavit of support

Deciding whether you will use a joint sponsor when self employed depends on whether your business income falls short of the income requirement.

Some of you reading this may have just started a business recently, and therefore, have little evidence of your earnings for last year. In this case, you will need to find someone that meets the income requirement to help sponsor your fiancé for the K1 visa.

Read more on how to use a joint sponsor for I-134.

What if your joint sponsor is also self employed?

No problem! USCIS doesn’t really care whether you or your joint sponsor is self employed, all they want to see is enough income to show that you can sponsor your loved one.

USCIS really likes stable income. This means income that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Do I Need To Include Value Of Assets If Self Employed?

Including assets is actually optional if your income is enough. Even if your income falls short, using assets is still optional as long as you have a joint sponsor willing to complete form I-134.

How does USCIS calculate how much assets are enough?

This is where things get a bit tricky. The value of your assets (home, cars, buildings, gold, collectibles) must be convertible to cash within 12 months. They must be seen as liquid assets in the eyes of USCIS.

The value will be calculated based on fair market value at the time of case processing. It’s best to include evidence of the true value of your assets if you will be going this route.

Conclusion: Proving Income On I-134 Sponsor Self Employed

Self employment has risen in recent years thanks to companies such as Uber, Lyft and AirBnB. It’s what’s now known as the “gig economy” where people make a living completing one gig at a time.

When it comes to self employment and sponsoring your loved one, it’s important to have sold evidence to prove your income. Since you won’t have regular pay stubs or W2’s to show your employment, it’s important to include 2 years tax returns with your application.

If you are just getting started in your business or haven’t been able to make a profit yet, you should consider using a joint sponsor. A joint sponsor can be anyone who is a legal residence of the United States with an income that meets the USCIS requirement to sponsor someone.

Remember, the joint sponsor (and yourself) must meet the income requirement based on your household size.

Check out this post to learn how to calculate your household size.

Some US Consulates and Embassies may not allow joint sponsors but most do. A joint sponsor doesn’t have to be a family member, but I’ve found that a family is more willing to be the joint sponsor because of the sensitive financial documents required to be submitted.

Are you self employed? What evidence did you include with the affidavit of support? Did you use a joint sponsor? Let me know!

Hi! I’m a foreign born Canadian that has immigrated to the United States to marry the love of my life. I successfully navigated the U.S. immigration system all the way to U.S. citizenship. Immigration is a privilege not a right!

Contact Me With Questions

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