USCIS and the NVC/DOS generally prefer to have an entire household be represented in the I-864 form filings. So, in a short answer: Possibly, if the spouse is contributing to the household income or is within the recent Tax Return Filing.
There are two instances that may occur on the topic of a spouse:
- Spouse IS the Green Card Applicant / Intended Immigrant is the Spouse: An I-864A is generally waived, but the income, if any legal US-Based Income is being earned by the Applicant, would need to be presented in the I-864 filing.
USCIS would make one of two assumptions, which helps show why the I-864A is waived:
- Either the Green Card Applicant / Spouse cannot be added to the I-864 filing since there is no Current Legal US Income or they are not in the US to earn a Current Legal US Income.
- Alternatively, the Green Card Applicant / Spouse is in the US and is earning a Current Legal Income with Employment Authorization or an Employment Visa (J1, F1 OPT, H1B, ect), which the I-864 has an area for the income to be clarified.
- Spouse IS NOT the Green Card Applicant: The Spouse is normally recommended to complete an I-864A since the spouse usually:
- Contributing to the household income
- Filed a Recent Joint Tax Return Filing
Special Note: USCIS and NVC/DOS DO NOT accept/acknowledge/count/consider
- Illegal Income (Drug Dealing or Illegal Gambling)
- Income produced from someone NOT AUTHORIZED to legally work (working under the table, on someone else’s SS#/Name, ect.)
- Income from abroad
What if My Spouse and I are filing taxes as “Married, Filing Separate”?
Although uncommon since the spouses usually have better tax rates and tax returns by filing Joint or Head of Household, Married filing Separate is not the same as being single, being divorced, or having 2 separate households.
USCIS aims to review the entire financial picture of a household to ESTIMATE how the household will be able to sponsor an Immigrant for the next three to ten years.
Should I still Add my Spouse as an I-864A Household Member when their income is $0 or Negative?
Yes, a full picture of the household’s finances is needed. Negative Income reduces the Adjusted Gross Income for the entire household, which makes the Spouse’s involvement in the I-864 Filing very important.
Related I-864 Topic Posts:
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