As part of the green card sponsorship process, the U.S. Citizen must provide proof that he/she has adequate means to financially support the TN visa worker. This is established by filing an Affidavit of Support, I-864.
The U.S. citizen must show that his/her income meets 125% of the U.S. poverty guidelines applicable to the U.S. citizen's household size.
In calculating the household size, the following individuals must be counted (individuals are not counted twice in this calculation):
The U.S. citizen sponsor
The TN visa worker and any of his/her children also immigrating as step-children
The sponsor's unmarried children under 21
Any person claimed as a dependent on the sponsor's income tax returns
Individuals whom the sponsor is obligated to support under any previously filed I-864s
The applicable income requirements are published in I-864P.
U.S. immigration will determine whether the sponsor meets the Affidavit of Support requirements based on the total income listed in his/her U.S. federal income tax return.
To evidence his/her income, the U.S. citizen generally must include a copy or transcript of his/her recent IRS tax filing including all schedules, W-2s and 1099s; and proof of employment (e.g. a letter, pay stubs).
There is an exception to the I-864 requirement if the TN visa worker has earned 40 qualifying quarters of work in the U.S.
Alternative Means to Meet Requirement
If the U.S. citizen's income is insufficient, the TN visa worker's income may be used to satisfy the I-864 requirements. (The income from an applicant who is the sponsor's spouse may be used provided the income is from lawful employment that will continue after the individual obtains his/her green card.)
The income from individuals counted as members of the sponsor's household may also be used to meet the income requirements. An I-864A form is required in this scenario.
In addition, the U.S. citizen, the TN visa worker, or any household members may submit evidence of their assets (e.g. savings accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate) in order to meet the Affidavit of Support requirements. To qualify, the combined cash value of the assets must exceed 3 times the difference between the sponsor's household income and the income requirements for the Affidavit of Support.
A joint sponsor may also be used to meet the Affidavit of Support requirements. A joint sponsor must meet all eligibility requirements (e.g. over 18, domiciled in the U.S., and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident). An individual may have only one joint sponsor. The joint sponsor must be able to meet the whole income threshold his/herself. There can be no pooling of income.
One of the requirements for filing the Affidavit of Support is that the U.S. citizen must be domiciled in the U.S.
The regulations define “domicile” as “the place where a sponsor has his or her principal residence…with the intention to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future.”
The application will be denied if the sponsor does not have, or cannot prove that he/she intends to establish a domicile in the U.S.
Duration of Obligation
The obligation to provide financial support remains until the TN visa worker:
Becomes a U.S. citizen
Can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work in U.S.
Ceases to hold permanent resident status and departs the U.S.
Divorce does not end the support obligation.
Proposed Rule - Public Charge Inadmissibility (Sept. 2018)
USCIS - Tips for Filing I-864W (exemption to Affidavit of Support).
Revised Sept. 2018.