I am a US citizen and I am married to a US citizen. I have a brother in Canada that I want to bring to the US. My husband currently makes $31,000 a year. Can I combine our incomes for the I-864 Affidavit of Support to bring my brother to the US?

As the petitioner for your brother to come to the United States, you should know that brothers and sisters of US citizens must wait a long time for a visa appointment to become available because only a certain number of brothers/sisters can come to the United States every year as permanent residents.

Every year there are more brothers/sisters who wish to immigrate to the US than there are immigration visas available. Demand has outstripped supply and so there is a backlog or long wait times for brothers/sisters.

As of today’s writing, brothers/sisters of US citizen petitioners from most countries are eligible for an immigrant visa appointment if the petition was filed before May 8, 2004. If your brother/sister is a citizen of mainland China, India, Mexico, or the Philippines, the wait times could be even longer.

I mention the petition and the long wait times because your income as his financial sponsor only needs to be calculated about the time your brother is eligible to have an immigrant visa interview.

The US government recalculates the financial sponsorship requirements almost every year and the requirements are tied to different percentages of the federal poverty level. The requirements also depend on the number of people in your household. It is impossible to predict what those financial requirements will be more than 10 years from now.

If your brother was eligible to have an immigrant visa interview this year, then it is possible for you to combine your income with your husband or other household members using a contract between sponsor and household member. Currently that form is numbered as I-864A.

If your household does not have enough income to meet the government’s financial requirements, it might be possible to use another US citizen or lawful permanent resident outside of your household who could meet the financial requirements on his or her own and therefore qualify as a Joint Sponsor for financial sponsorship purposes.

Financial sponsorship requirements are sometimes straightforward, but often they can get complicated. I recommend speaking with a qualified immigration lawyer to help you navigate the requirements.

If you have any questions regarding immigration, please feel free to call me, immigration attorney Shawn Mesa at (813) 679-5780.

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on this information is taken at your own risk.

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