Does Sponsoring an Immigrant Affect Buying a House?

In this immigration law article we will explain how sponsoring an immigrant can impact your life when you are buying a house. So does sponsoring an immigrant affect buying a house or not?

Becoming a sponsor for an immigrant can be an exceptionally rewarding and life-changing experience. Whether the intended immigrant is your spouse, family member, friend, or employee, Form I-864 Affidavit of Support can help make their dreams of coming to the United States a reality.

With the monetary responsibilities that come with Form I-864, many aspiring sponsors want to know how their current financial status and goals may be impacted by becoming a sponsor. One of the most common questions from potential sponsors is about how the Affidavit of Support may affect their ability to purchase a home.

Financial Responsibilities While Sponsoring an Immigrant

To become an immigration sponsor, one must pledge to financially support the immigrant and meet minimum income requirements to qualify. Income requirements may vary from state to state; however, as a general rule, you’ll be expected to provide proof that your income is at least 125% of the federal poverty line.

The primary purpose of the sponsor’s financial liability regarding Form I-864 is to ensure that the immigrant doesn’t become a “public charge.” This means that, should the immigrant receive financial assistance from means-tested public benefits such as food stamps or medicaid, the sponsor is required to repay these costs to the government.

Does an affidavit of support impact the sponsor’s ability to qualify for a mortgage?

In general, sponsoring an immigrant does not directly impact a person’s ability to qualify for a mortgage or buy a home. However, creditors and mortgage lenders may ask whether or not you have any dependents and the financial obligations that are associated with supporting them.

While sponsoring an immigrant doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for a mortgage, it can impact your overall financial situation depending on the level of financial support the immigrant requires.

Can a home be used as an asset to meet the financial requirements for sponsoring an immigrant?

In general, petitioners must meet minimum income requirements in order to financially sponsor an immigrant.

However, if you’re unable to meet the income requirement, you may be able to use your assets – including the value of your home – in order to qualify. But this can get a little complicated. If you use assets, then your total net value of assets, less liens and liabilities against them, must be five times greater than the difference between your income and 125% of the federal poverty level.

Therefore, you can include the value of your home as an asset in order to meet the financial requirements of sponsoring an immigrant, but you must subtract your mortgage if you have one.

Can having a mortgage stop you from sponsoring an immigrant?

In previous years, the now-discontinued Form I-944 Declaration of Self Sufficiency required that potential sponsors provide information regarding their debts in addition to their total income. However, such information is no longer required.

Generally speaking, your mortgage should not have an impact on your ability to become an immigration sponsor, as USCIS will assess the total income line of your taxes compared to poverty guidelines. However, should you use your home as an asset to qualify for an Affidavit of Support due to insufficient income, then your mortgage may have an impact on your eligibility.

When You Should Hire an Immigration Lawyer

Sponsoring an immigrant’s visa application is a major decision. Helping someone who lives overseas move to the United States can truly change their life. Depending on your relationship to the beneficiary, it can change yours too. But signing and submitting Form I-864 means entering into a legally enforceable contract with the US government, so it’s important to know all of the risks and implications.

In many cases, it’s a good idea to speak with an expert in immigration law prior to making the final decision to sponsor an immigrant. There are financial and legal considerations, and the process can be complicated to navigate on your own. A qualified immigration lawyer can help answer any questions you have and help to address your concerns.