k1 I-134 unemployed

Unemployed K1 Visa Petitioner, Can We Use Joint Sponsor For I-134?

Making enough money to sponsor your foreign fiancé is one of the requirements for the K1 visa, but what happens when you lose your job? This is probably more common than you think and USCIS understands that life circumstances can change. Losing a job is not only detrimental to your finances but it can be quite stressful.

Luckily, USCIS allows you to use a joint sponsor if you can’t meet the income requirement alone. A joint sponsor is someone who agrees to financial support the intending immigrant and can prove they make enough money for their household. The purpose of Form I-134 is to ensure that an immigrant that enters the US will not drain welfare resources for Americans.

Here’s an interesting fact: the affidavit of support (form I-134) isn’t legally binding in court. You can consider this a good thing because it means that USCIS can’t take you to court if your fiance decides to leave you and apply for food stamps. I’m sure it’s because the K1 visa is considered a nonimmigrant visa until you adjust your status after marriage.

Who can be a joint sponsor for the K1 affidavit of support I-134?

  • Must be US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Must be 18 years old
  • Must live in the US

What Are The Income Requirements For I-134?

So, how much money will your joint sponsor (co-sponsor) need to make to qualify? The actual amount changes every year but I have included the table below which shows the minimum income per household size.

The household size is the number of people that you have in your home that you financially support. For example: if you have a spouse and 2 children living with you, your household size is 4.

But, if one of your children is 19, in college and doesn’t live with you, your household size is 3. Basically, you should only include people that are dependent on your income and currently live with you.

2019-2020 Income Requirements (K1 Visa)

(and all other nonimmigrant visas using the I-134)

Household Size 100% Poverty Guideline

Fiance Visa
125% Poverty Guideline

Green Card

2 $16,910 $21,137
3 $21,330 $26,662
4 $25,750 $32,187
5 $30,170 $37,712
6 $34,590 $43,237
7 $39,010 $48,762
8 $43,430 $54,287

 

Petitioner Income Requirement:

As the petitioner, you will still need to fill out form I-134 even if you are unemployed and make no income at all. So, if you have no children or dependents living with you, your household size will be 2 which includes your fiance.

You must include 1-3 years of tax returns with the form. If you weren’t required to file a tax return you should submit a letter stating this.

If you currently make zero, you can fill out form I-134 and state that your income is zero. You can also include any assets you have that can be used instead of income. Some petitioners choose to include bank statements, investment states, and rental property in lieu of income to avoid using a joint sponsor.

Read this article on how to use assets instead of income for form I-134.

Joint Sponsor Income Requirement:

As the joint sponsor, you will need to fill out Form I-134 and include the intending immigrant in your household size. If you meet the income requirement alone, provide pay stubs, employment verification letters and 3 years tax returns as supporting documents.

If the joint sponsor doesn’t make enough to meet the income requirement for their household size, they can also use assets to “top up” the shortage. You’ll need to include evidence of your assets and they must be liquid (easily convertible to cash).

How To Fill Out Form I-134 When You’re Unemployed

Okay, not let’s fill out form I-134 as the unemployed petitioner. Remember, you can include any assets and investments to help make your case that you’ll be able to support your fiance. It may also be a good idea to include an additional sheet explaining why you’re currently unemployed, for example:

For the last 3 years, I was employed at ABC corporation as an engineer. Unfortunately, I lost my job due to downsizing and have been applying for jobs ever since. I expect to find employment within the next 2 months at the same salary or more.

Example Petitioner Fills Out Form I-134

I134 petitioner unemployed

After filling out the biographic information on the first few pages of the form, you’ll now get to Part 3: Other Information About the Sponsor.

  • 1a: You’ll need to checkmark that you are employed to be able to type in this field.
  • 2a: Leave this blank since you are not employed at the moment
  • 3: Put zero if you have no income, otherwise put down your annual income (unemployment income)
  • 4: Include total cash assets (checking, savings, CDs)
  • 5: Include property value if you own a home (you can guess if you’re not sure)
  • 6: Include investments if you have them, otherwise put zero
  • 7a/7b: Include the value of life insurance if you have it, otherwise put zero
  • 8a/8b: Put the address of the property you own, otherwise put “none”

How Joint Sponsor Should Fill Out I-134

sponsor information I134The joint sponsor will be filling out the same form I-134 as the petitioner. Remember, the term “sponsor” isn’t the same as the “petitioner”. So where it says to fill out the sponsor’s information, don’t get confused with the person who is actually petitioning for the immigrant.

Everywhere that the form asks for the sponsor information, make sure the joint sponsor puts their own info instead of the actual petitioner. They will need to submit evidence of their US citizenship or lawful permanent resident status.

US citizenship evidence

  • birth certificate
  • US passport
  • Naturalization certificate

Lawful permanent resident evidence

  • Green card
  • LPR card

Example Petitioner Fills Out Form I-134

I134 joint sponsor

After filling out the biographic information on the first few pages of the form, you’ll now get to Part 3: Other Information About the Sponsor.

  • 1a: You’ll need to check mark that you are employed and enter your occupation
  • 2a: Put the address of your employer
  • 3: Put your annual income (include tax returns to prove this)
  • 4: Include total cash assets (checking, savings, CDs)
  • 5: Include property value if you own a home (you can guess if you’re not sure)
  • 6: Include investments if you have them, otherwise put zero
  • 7a/7b: Include value of life insurance if you have it, otherwise put zero
  • 8a/8b: Put address of the property you own, otherwise put “none”
  • Next section is about dependents in your household

Final Thoughts On K1 Visa I-134 and Unemployment

As you can see, you have options if you are currently unemployed and need to fill out the I-134 affidavit of support. The joint sponsor doesn’t need to be your relative but it may be difficult to find someone willing to provide such personal financial information if their just a friend or coworker.

Even though the I-134 isn’t legally binding (meaning the government can’t take you to court), you should still take your responsibility seriously. Once your fiance arrives in the US and you are married, you’ll need to fill our form I-864 for the adjustment of the status stage. This form is definitely legally binding and I’ve heard of stories where the immigrant file for government benefits and the sponsor was sued in court.

It’s important to back up the I-134 with supporting documents such as:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns (3 years)
  • Employment letter
  • Bank statements
  • Investment statements

That’s it! Now you will need to wait until the consulate processes the K1 visa and your medical and interview is scheduled. I have also created a helpful guide about the entire K1 visa process.

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Comments

  1. Charelle J Young

    Why the the consular didnt want the joint sponsor during my fiancee interview when he had it there and send his case back to the uscis

  2. Hi Charelle,

    Unfortunately, some consulates do no accept joint sponsors with the K1 visa! This is not very often but it does happen. If possible, get married and file for the spouse visa as they usually accept a joint sponsor for the I-864 affidavit of support.

  3. Zak

    Hello Ayan,
    Thank you for assembling this information. Maybe you can help me, I’m having difficulty determining when to submit the I-134 Affadavit of Support. Does it get submitted with the I-129 F packet?

    Thanks.
    Zak

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