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Question about i 485 RFE

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Hi everyone,

I just got the request for initial evidence letter from USCIS, and I would appreciate some advice on how to response. The letter states the following:

"The petitioner/sponsor's income on the Federal income tax return does not meet or exceed 125% (100% if military) of the poverty guideline. The petitioner/sponsor lists their current income on Form i-864 as an amount to be considered as sufficient; however, no evidence has been submitted as proof of current income.

Submit evidence of the petitioner/sponsor's current income. Such evidence should include:

1. Letter of employment containing the following...

2. pay stubs or other documentation of pay for the previous 6 months

3. Evidence of other income, such as Tax-Exempt Interest, Qualified Dividends, IRA distributions, Pension, Annuities, and Social Security Benefits (only SSA-1099 and/or SSDI-1099)"

Here is our situation: we both are PhD students - I have research assistantship ($25,000/yr) and my husband has a fellowship ($28,000/yr). With either of these, I believe we meet the requirement of income. We submitted our offer letters (which our school considers as employment letters), our 6-months pay-stubs, and my W2 (not my husband's, because fellowship is not taxable, and has no W2 or anything equivalent at all - he did pay tax though, through a rather painful and complicated procedure). We also asked my father-in-law to fill another i-864 as a financial sponser, just in case USCIS needs more evidence. (And of course, they need more evidence anyway)

So I'm not sure what would be an appropriate response at this point. I don't think the items listed in #3 are even available for us, and we did send out 1 & 2. Maybe I should ask the school to give a more formal employment letter...? And, should I mail my father-in-law's i864 again this time, saying (again) "please use his as financial sponsor file instead, if you don't like ours"?

Any advice would be greatly appreciate! Thank you:)

Julia

Edited by mscjulia

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Did you submit a copy or transcript of your taxes for the most recent tax year? The I-864 is very clear that you need to do this.

Yes @Crystal, I did. I included our 2014 joint tax return, and 2013 individual tax returns. No 2012's because we were still in college at the time. Sorry I forgot to mention that in the post.

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I know that different states have different 125% poverty levels (since I live in Hawaii, the 125% poverty guideline is higher than those figures of the continental US). But remember that it is based on your adjusted gross income and not your gross income. When you added those two figures together, did you still come out above the 125% poverty guideline?

Basically, the government wants to be reassured that you wont be seeking government assistance and thats why they ask for your tax history to see if your work has been consistent or not. In your situation, since you did get a return letter stating the threshold was not met, I would ask a family member to cosponsor.

Good luck with everything! You're almost there :)


July 18, 2014 - Married in Fiji
Aug 21, 2014 - Sent I-130
Aug 26, 2014 - I-130 recieved
Feb 12, 2015 - I-130 Approved!
Mar 6, 2015 - NVC receieved our case (found this out on Mar 11th phone call with NVC rep)
Mar 11, 2015 - Called NVC, was given case # & invoice #
Mar 11, 2015 - Paid AOS Bill
Mar 13, 2015 - AOS Fee deducted from bank account
Mar 14, 2015 - Received DS-261/AOS Bill (in mail)
Mar 16, 2015 - Called NVC, was instructed to mail out AOS/I-864, mailed I-864EZ/AOS/Documents (2 day shipping)
Mar 18, 2015 - Packet received by NVC, AOS Fee marked as PAID on ceac.state.gov website

Mar 23, 2015 - Called NVC: 1.to verify packet received(was told to allow 60 days for review) 2. to ask if DS-261 was entered in the system (was told case is too new to revivew over the phone, but I could call back in a few days if I wish to see if we could review it over the phone)
Mar 24, 2015 - Called NVC and was able to review DS-261 over the phone; added emails, designated self as agent of choice. Should be able to pay IV Fee & fill out DS-260 in one week (31/03/15)
Mar 25, 2015 - Paid IV Fee
Mar 26, 2015 - IV Fee shown as 'Paid'
Mar 28, 2015 - Submit DS-260

April 1, 2015 - Medical Exam in Suva, called NVC for update on case: said it wasnt in the system yet, still in review. allow 45 days for case complete (hey, thats better than the 60 they said earlier!) They will only email us if they need further information, otherwise expect interview letter in the mail.

April 7, 2015 - Called NVC to follow up, no update given

April 14, 2015 - Checked ceac.state.gov website, saw that there were 3 N/A's, called NVC to verify that case was complete

April 15, 2015 - Received false checklist, called NVC to verify that was actually false checklist (re: police certificate would be sent directly to embassy and therefore was not included with support documents submitted in IV Packet)

April 16, 2015 - Called NVC to re-verify that received false checklist. Confirmed AND was told that interview date was scheduled

May 28, 2015 - Interview Scheduled at 8am, Suva Embassy (need to reschedule due to conflicting obligations)

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Hmmm....seems like you have everything and then some.

While the prospect of calling the NVC is only slightly more desirable then scooping your eyeballs out with a spoon, I think it is necessary in this case. If it was me, I would call the NVC to see what they had to say....it only takes about 35 calls and a 40 minute hold to get through.

I would also consider just starting over and send them everything again. Your case is already reset 60 days, so might as well give them plenty to look at.

Sending positive thoughts to you. Good luck.

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Hmmm....seems like you have everything and then some.

While the prospect of calling the NVC is only slightly more desirable then scooping your eyeballs out with a spoon, I think it is necessary in this case. If it was me, I would call the NVC to see what they had to say....it only takes about 35 calls and a 40 minute hold to get through.

I would also consider just starting over and send them everything again. Your case is already reset 60 days, so might as well give them plenty to look at.

Sending positive thoughts to you. Good luck.

Hi @Moustafa/Crystal, thank you. I did call NCSC earlier, and got someone to chat with. She said I should just send in everything. Is NVC some other office for USCIS? What do you mean by "your case is already reset 60 days" please -- they won't handle my case till 60 days later after they receive my response?

Also, thanks to Halai&Tim's reply, I re-checked our tax return of 2014, and found that we might have to amend it...... As stated earlier, it's painful to file my husband's fellowship part when he doesn't have a W2, and I might have miss-filled certain spots, and caused our adj gross income is ~$38,000 (should be ~$50,000 I believe). I'm not sure about this yet, and going to talk to some experts later; but does anyone know if amending a tax return at this point would affect my application please? Or would it be necessary to amend it at all, since $38,000 should be enough?

Thank you.

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I know that different states have different 125% poverty levels (since I live in Hawaii, the 125% poverty guideline is higher than those figures of the continental US). But remember that it is based on your adjusted gross income and not your gross income. When you added those two figures together, did you still come out above the 125% poverty guideline?

That is incorrect. The income used on the I-864 is gross. The only time the AGI is ever listed on an I-864 is if you happen to use the 1040EZ when filing taxes and would then list the AGI from the 1040EZ for Part 6 #13a-c. If you used any other 1040 form, such as the 1040A, then you list your Total Income from line 22 for those questions.

Hmmm....seems like you have everything and then some.

While the prospect of calling the NVC is only slightly more desirable then scooping your eyeballs out with a spoon, I think it is necessary in this case. If it was me, I would call the NVC to see what they had to say....it only takes about 35 calls and a 40 minute hold to get through.

The OP is filing for AOS. They are dealing with the USCIS and not the NVC.

Hi @Moustafa/Crystal, thank you. I did call NCSC earlier, and got someone to chat with. She said I should just send in everything. Is NVC some other office for USCIS? What do you mean by "your case is already reset 60 days" please -- they won't handle my case till 60 days later after they receive my response?

Also, thanks to Halai&Tim's reply, I re-checked our tax return of 2014, and found that we might have to amend it...... As stated earlier, it's painful to file my husband's fellowship part when he doesn't have a W2, and I might have miss-filled certain spots, and caused our adj gross income is ~$38,000 (should be ~$50,000 I believe). I'm not sure about this yet, and going to talk to some experts later; but does anyone know if amending a tax return at this point would affect my application please? Or would it be necessary to amend it at all, since $38,000 should be enough?

Thank you.

Proving non-taxable income can be very difficult. You state he does not get a W-2, but you do. Does he get a 1099? What documentation does he get that states he receives that income amount a year? Provide a copy of that plus the last 12 months of bank statements to prove how much he gets deposited each month, quarterly, or however he receives the money. Don't worry about the AGI, unless you used a 1040EZ form.

The immigrant must prove that their income source will continue from the same source when they become a permanent resident, so be sure to include that evidence in order for your income to be accepted and used.

Send what you can to prove you meet the requirement, but yes, also send in the I-864 and supporting documentation from the joint sponsor as well. It could be possible that they will not accept the fellowship income because it is temporary income and used to pay for school, yes? If they do accept your new documentation, then they will not need to use the joint sponsor. If they don't, then they will have the joint sponsor info to use and you won't get another RFE or possible denial.


Link to K-1 instructions for Ciudad Juarez, Mexico > http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/K1/CDJ%20-%20Ciudad%20Juarez.pdf

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That is incorrect. The income used on the I-864 is gross. The only time the AGI is ever listed on an I-864 is if you happen to use the 1040EZ when filing taxes and would then list the AGI from the 1040EZ for Part 6 #13a-c. If you used any other 1040 form, such as the 1040A, then you list your Total Income from line 22 for those questions.

The OP is filing for AOS. They are dealing with the USCIS and not the NVC.

Proving non-taxable income can be very difficult. You state he does not get a W-2, but you do. Does he get a 1099? What documentation does he get that states he receives that income amount a year? Provide a copy of that plus the last 12 months of bank statements to prove how much he gets deposited each month, quarterly, or however he receives the money. Don't worry about the AGI, unless you used a 1040EZ form.

The immigrant must prove that their income source will continue from the same source when they become a permanent resident, so be sure to include that evidence in order for your income to be accepted and used.

Send what you can to prove you meet the requirement, but yes, also send in the I-864 and supporting documentation from the joint sponsor as well. It could be possible that they will not accept the fellowship income because it is temporary income and used to pay for school, yes? If they do accept your new documentation, then they will not need to use the joint sponsor. If they don't, then they will have the joint sponsor info to use and you won't get another RFE or possible denial.

Thank you so much @KayDeeCee for the correction. No my husband does not have a 1099 or any form for tax. We talked to our school many times about this, and school office always says NOT to file tax, because normally students with fellowship don't. My husband insisted to pay tax so we did. His income is only shown from his PhD offer letter, and from pay stubs. We did include these in our mail last time, and I guess we will send these out this time, together with the bank statement you mentioned (good point thank you!). And yes, I can highlight the offer letter where it states the PhD prgram will have us for five years.

The amount in 1040A line 22 is the same with our AGI: $38,000. I went back to turbotax and tried to play around with it, and found it would be hard to have all my husband's income being considered/reported in the total income. The $38,000 = my income (after tax) + the amount my husband spend in living using the fellowship. Unless I lie to say that my husband spent all his fellowship in living, the $38,000 will not consider the full amount of his fellowship. Does it worth it to make the number right, by lying and pay the government back a few hundreds...? otherwise I guess there is nothing to amend then...

For the my father-in-law's i864, do you think they just simply ignored it last time when we sent it in? (My husband's fellowship is not to pay for school. It's for living expense/savings/etc, just like normal income. However it is temporary - last only for 2 years. You are right they might be concerned about it.) I will definitely keep my father-in-law's file in.

Thank you very much.

Edited by mscjulia

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If you are only a household size of 2, then your income of $25k alone should be enough to meet the requirement. If they won't count his because it is temporary. Just go ahead and provide everything to try and show your income is enough. Add the bank statements and point out that your income will continue from the same source when you become a permanent resident.

Add a statement about adding the joint sponsor just in case they still determine your income alone is not sufficient. Make sure the joint sponsor provides most recent tax transcript, proof of income and proof of being a USC or LPR.


Link to K-1 instructions for Ciudad Juarez, Mexico > http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/K1/CDJ%20-%20Ciudad%20Juarez.pdf

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It sounds that perhaps they aren't accepting the income because it's temporary, I would send in the 12 months of bank statements as suggested above. Also re-send your joint sponsor's I-864 along with his supporting documentation.



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Hi everyone,

I just got the request for initial evidence letter from USCIS, and I would appreciate some advice on how to response. The letter states the following:

"The petitioner/sponsor's income on the Federal income tax return does not meet or exceed 125% (100% if military) of the poverty guideline. The petitioner/sponsor lists their current income on Form i-864 as an amount to be considered as sufficient; however, no evidence has been submitted as proof of current income.

Submit evidence of the petitioner/sponsor's current income. Such evidence should include:

1. Letter of employment containing the following...

2. pay stubs or other documentation of pay for the previous 6 months

3. Evidence of other income, such as Tax-Exempt Interest, Qualified Dividends, IRA distributions, Pension, Annuities, and Social Security Benefits (only SSA-1099 and/or SSDI-1099)"

Here is our situation: we both are PhD students - I have research assistantship ($25,000/yr) and my husband has a fellowship ($28,000/yr). With either of these, I believe we meet the requirement of income. We submitted our offer letters (which our school considers as employment letters), our 6-months pay-stubs, and my W2 (not my husband's, because fellowship is not taxable, and has no W2 or anything equivalent at all - he did pay tax though, through a rather painful and complicated procedure). We also asked my father-in-law to fill another i-864 as a financial sponser, just in case USCIS needs more evidence. (And of course, they need more evidence anyway)

So I'm not sure what would be an appropriate response at this point. I don't think the items listed in #3 are even available for us, and we did send out 1 & 2. Maybe I should ask the school to give a more formal employment letter...? And, should I mail my father-in-law's i864 again this time, saying (again) "please use his as financial sponsor file instead, if you don't like ours"?

Any advice would be greatly appreciate! Thank you:)

Julia

On the surface, all looks OK, but since you have RFE to deal with,

here are somethings to consider...

1) I'm not sure the offer letters = employment verification.

School can make the offer, and you do not have to take it.

I think it might be worth getting formal employment letter from school.

2) Are Research Assistance Fellowship granted 1 year at a time?

Is there a date range (specifically ending date) in these offers?

3) Lastly, can you call them and see if you can get specific details?


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If you are only a household size of 2, then your income of $25k alone should be enough to meet the requirement. If they won't count his because it is temporary. Just go ahead and provide everything to try and show your income is enough. Add the bank statements and point out that your income will continue from the same source when you become a permanent resident.

Add a statement about adding the joint sponsor just in case they still determine your income alone is not sufficient. Make sure the joint sponsor provides most recent tax transcript, proof of income and proof of being a USC or LPR.

Thank you very much @KayDeeCee, will do. By the way, do you think USCIS will look deep into one's tax return, if they think it is unclear? I'm concerned because with all the information I could provide, I still can't easily explain why the total income on our tax return doesn't match with the sum of our paystub per year.

It sounds that perhaps they aren't accepting the income because it's temporary, I would send in the 12 months of bank statements as suggested above. Also re-send your joint sponsor's I-864 along with his supporting documentation.

Thank you @mimolicious. I will add in the joint-sponsor's i864 for sure. I'm just concerned if they think our income is unclear/questionable, they will keep digging this, instead of switch and take a look at the joint sponsor's. (Maybe I shouldn't submit ours at the first place:(()

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On the surface, all looks OK, but since you have RFE to deal with,

here are somethings to consider...

1) I'm not sure the offer letters = employment verification.

School can make the offer, and you do not have to take it.

I think it might be worth getting formal employment letter from school.

2) Are Research Assistance Fellowship granted 1 year at a time?

Is there a date range (specifically ending date) in these offers?

3) Lastly, can you call them and see if you can get specific details?

Thank you @DualityOneness.

For 1. I confirmed with school this morning, and that's all we can get from them, because we are not real school employees anyway. I will ask if they could maybe write something similar up just for us, but I don't know yet.

2. Yes, theoretically, Research assistant renews every summer. My husband fellowship covers 2 years, and it is expiring this summer -- although school will keep his income as the same, it will be another kind of research assistant I believe --- which you can see, it can be complicated to explain to USCIS. i just hope they could stop questioning our situation, and move on to look at our financial sponsors'...

3. Yes, I called again this morning, but I don't think the representative have enough insights in my case. He said I should just follow the requirement, and if there is something to cause confusion - explain in a letter. One interesting point he mentioned is that sometimes USCIS asks for things that we already provided in order to check consistency.

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