Form I-134 and Income Requirement for a K1 Visa

If you are engaged to a man or woman who lives abroad, you might be wondering how to bring them to the United States to marry them. In most situations, U.S. citizens (USC) will need to petition for a K1 visa that will allow their betrothed to enter the United States for the wedding.

K1 fiancé and fiancée

Although the K1 visa is a nonimmigrant, or temporary, visa, a USC will need to demonstrate that they can afford to support the marital household. It does not matter if your alien fiancé is highly educated or had a high paying job in their country of origin.

1.  Who needs a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support?

2.  When needs a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support?

3.  What documents should be enclosed with the Form I-134?

4.  Income requirement for a K1 Visa application

5.  Joint Sponsor for a K1 visa application

6.  Form I-134 vs. Form I-864

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1. Who needs a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support?

The USCIS provides American fiancés with a form to declare under the penalty of perjury that they are able to support their partner after marriage, if necessary. This paperwork is called the Form I-134 Affidavit of Support.

The form is necessary to comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 1212(a)(4). This law prohibits the admission of persons that the USCIS determines are likely to become a public charge. This means that they would probably require government benefits and assistance programs.

2. When needs a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support?

After a USC’s Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) gets approved by the USCIS, the USC will need to prepare a Form I-134 because his or her foreign fiancé(e) who applies for a K1 visa must bring the Form I-134 and its supporting documents to the K1 visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

3. What documents should be enclosed with the Form I-134?

The USCIS provides a handy checklist of items that might be necessary to enclose with the Form I-134. Some examples of compelling evidence to submit with an I-134 Affidavit of Support include the following:

  • Signed statement from a bank officer that states the date the account was opened, its current balance, and the total dollars deposited that year
  • Employer memo on letterhead that gives your dates and nature of employment, as well as your salary and temporary or permanent status
  • Copy of the previous year’s federal income tax return
  • If self-employed, a report of commercial rating concern

The list is not exhaustive, but it provides an excellent starting point. Individuals may have other ideas for documents that can supplement the items in the USCIS checklist.

4. Income requirement for a K1 Visa application

The purpose of providing documentation from financial institutions, the employer, and tax returns is to establish that a sponsor meets the required income threshold.

Poverty Guidelines

The income requirement for a 2020 K1 visa application is 100% of the poverty guidelines. These guidelines are published by the Department of Homeland Security and the USCIS.

Household Size

The amount of income that meets the criterion of 100% of the poverty guidelines will depend on the size of the household. The more members of the household that need to be sponsored, the greater the dollar amount of required income.

Using Assets to Qualify

Sometimes a person submitting an I-134 form does not earn enough money to meet the income requirements, but they have other liquid assets. In such cases, an adjudicator may consider a combination of income and assets.

However, the assets must able to be converted to cash within one year without severe harm to the members of household. As such, a person’s only home or only car would not qualify, because selling them would mean that the family would have no home and no transportation. This could be an undue hardship. Examples of easily liquidated assets include money kept in a savings account or invested in the stock market.

Not sure if your income and/or assets meet the requirement under Form I-134? You can consult an immigration attorney with extensive experience for only $100! Schedule a consultation today!


5. Joint Sponsor for a K1 visa application

Even if a U.S. citizen cannot meet the income requirement for a K1 visa, they may still be alright. Those who not earn enough money to surpass one times the amount listed for their household size on the poverty guidelines can seek a joint sponsor to help. Nevertheless, the U.S. citizen still needs to complete his or her own Form I-134.

The joint sponsor must be either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and domiciles in the United States. The joint sponsor must complete a separate From I-134 and provide supporting documents to prove his or her financial ability to sponsor the foreign K1 visa applicant.

6. Form I-134 vs. Form I-864

Form I-134 is an Affidavit of Support that is appropriate for a K1 nonimmigrant visa applicant. By contrast, a Form I-864 is also an Affidavit of Support that is used to demonstrate income requirements for family-based immigrant visas and some employment-based immigrant admissions. In other words, if you apply for K1 or other nonimmigrant visas, you may be required to provide a Form I-134. If you apply for a green card/immigrant visa, you may be required to provide a From I-864. It is impossible to provide the two forms simultaneously in the same category of visa application.

In addition, the income requirement under the Form I-134 is 100% of the poverty guidelines while under the Form I-864 it requires 125% of the poverty guidelines.

Actually, a USC who petitioned his or her foreign K1 fiancé(e) will eventually complete a Form I-864 when the  K1 fiancé(e) applies for a green card after they get married in the United States. You may learn more in our article Adjust Status after Entry on K1 Visa.

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