You’ve probably heard the saying “love knows no bounds.” Based on the number of people applying for K-1 visas each year, it’s likely that there’s some truth in those words. Also known as a fiance visa, a K-1 visa allows a person who’s engaged to a U.S. citizen to enter the country, provided that they meet certain requirements. While the government typically grants most K-1 visas, there are cases in which an application is denied. In particular, applicants who don’t meet the K-1 visa income requirements may not be able to enter the U.S. Keep reading to learn more about the K-1 visa along with the specific income requirements for 2020.
What Is a K-1 Visa?
K-1 visas allow U.S. citizens to bring foreign-born fiances into the country. A nonimmigrant classification, the K-1 visa is good for a period of 90 days. At that point, the foreign national must get married to the person who filed the application or exit the country.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. citizen must be the one who files for the K-1 visa. In order to be approved, both the citizen and the foreign national must be single and eligible for marriage under American law. Additionally, the petitioning fiance must be able to support their partner upon entering the U.S. To that end, the U.S. citizen is required to meet a certain income threshold.
What Are the Income Requirements?
The United States government is committed to ensuring that citizen petitioners can afford to support their foreign-born fiancees. To that end, Americans who file a Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiance) have to boast an income level that’s at least 100 percent of the HHS poverty guidelines.
Expected total income includes various sources of money. When calculating your current income, be sure to consider all of the following that apply:
- Salary, hourly wages, and tips
- Taxable interest
- Ordinary dividends
- Alimony or child support payments
- Business income
- Capital gains
- Taxable IRA distributions, pensions, and annuities
- Income from rental properties
- Unemployment compensation
- Workers compensation and disability
- Taxable Social Security
Note that public benefits such as food stamps, SSI, Medicaid, and CHIP do not count toward your total income. However, in the event that you fail to reach the minimum income requirement, you may be able to use other assets in order to meet the guidelines.
Current Income Rates for Eligibility
Required annual income levels for K-1 visa applicants change periodically. Below are the current thresholds for fiance visas as of 2020:
- A household with 2 or more people must earn $17,240 annually
- A household with 3 or more people must earn $21,720 annually
- A household with 4 or more people must earn $26,200 annually
For each additional member of the family, add $4,480 to your annual income requirement. Note that requirements are lower for active military members and higher for those residing in Alaska or Hawaii.
How to Prove Income Requirements Are Met
The government won’t take your word for it that you meet the K-1 visa income requirements. If a citizen wants their application to be approved, they must submit a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, on behalf of their non-citizen fiance. The purpose of this form is to demonstrate that the K-1 recipient will not have to rely on public benefits to afford to live in the U.S.
Some citizens rely on family members to help them meet the K-1 income requirements. If you don’t qualify on your own, you may want to ask a loved one to serve as your co-sponsor. This person must agree to be financially responsible for your foreign-born fiance.
Let JacksonWhite Help With Your K-1 Case
The team at JacksonWhite has long believed that immigrants help make this country a great place to live. With that in mind, we go above and beyond to help couples achieve their dreams of marrying and living together in the United States. Whether you need help securing a K-1 visa or handling another immigration issue, you can trust our knowledgeable attorneys to be in your corner.
Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.