Before the U.S. embassy or consulate will grant a K-1 visa to a foreign national, the U.S. citizen petitioner must prove that he or she has sufficient income to support the foreign visitor if necessary. Even if the foreign national has a well-paying job lined up in the United States, the petitioner will need to disclose his or her financial situation and sign an affidavit of support. Fortunately, the K-1 visa income requirements are relatively low.
K-1 Visa Income Requirements
In short, the U.S. citizen petitioner (person who filed Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé) must have current income that at least 100% of the poverty guidelines. For the current year’s poverty guidelines, refer to Form I-864P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Affidavit of Support. USCIS publishes this PDF so that you can easily look up the requirements.
Your current income is your “expected” total income from all sources for the current year. Your current individual income may be different than it was last year. It may include sources of income in addition to your employment. Your total individual income includes:
- Wages, salaries, tips
- Taxable interest
- Ordinary dividends
- Alimony and/or child support
- Business income
- Capital gains
- Taxable IRA distributions
- Taxable pensions and annuities
- Rental income
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers compensation and disability
- Taxable Social Security
Means-tested public benefits such as food stamps, SSI, Medicaid, TANF and CHIP should be excluded from income.
Reading Form I-864P
To determine if you meet the K-1 visa income requirements, you’ll first need to know your household size. Generally, your household includes you and any dependents. Add together your current dependents and the intending immigrants. If your fiancé has children that will accompany, they must be included in the calculation. To determine your household size, add together the following as applicable:
- Any people listed as dependents on your tax return
- Any immigrants that you have sponsored in the past
- Your fiancé and any children that will join
Once you have determined your total household size, refer to the poverty guidelines on Form I-864P. It is broken down separately for Alaska and Hawaii (due to cost of living). Use the column that lists 100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines.
For example, a sponsor with no dependents except for the fiancé would have a household size of two. Based on the 2018 poverty guidelines, he would require an income of at least $16,240 to meet the K-1 visa income requirements in all states except for Alaska and Hawaii.
Proving You Meet the Income Requirement
The U.S. citizen petitioner will be required to submit Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, on behalf of the foreign fiancé. Do not confuse Form I-134 with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Form I-134 is to be used in conjunction with the K-1 visa. Once the foreign national is in the United States and adjusts status to permanent residence (green card), the U.S. citizen will submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, at that time.
If you do not meet the K-1 visa income requirements with your own income, you may be able to add a co-sponsor. Generally, this would be a close family member who agrees to be financially responsible.