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I-864 using assets and "without undue harm"

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Hi everyone. Would really appreciate your thoughts on the "without undue harm" portion of the I-864 instructions. I am submitting the I-864 for my husband (I am his sole sponsor) and plan to use a combination of income and assets to fulfill the minimum income requirement. The assets will be the cash in my US savings account.

I am concerned about the "without undue harm" wording in the I-864 guidance: "The consular officer must find that the financial value of the asset can be converted to cash within one year to support the sponsored immigrant without undue harm to the sponsor or his/her family." (source: travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3183.html#23). What constitutes undue harm exactly? This is really vague, and probably intentionally so. Have any of you dealt with this issue before?

In our case, the assets are cash so we're not looking at having to sell of a house or liquidate a pension fund. Any advice?

Many, many thanks.


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

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I believe I have read from past posts that things like the family home could be considered under that category.

IE, if you were to lose your family's home, you would cause immediate harm to your family.

Make sense? Not sure what else could be considered.


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I believe I have read from past posts that things like the family home could be considered under that category.

IE, if you were to lose your family's home, you would cause immediate harm to your family.

Make sense? Not sure what else could be considered.

That definitely makes sense. Thanks. Since in our case we're just looking at cash assets (no housing, IRAs, pension funds, etc), I'm wondering if having to spend the cash (theoretically) can be construed as posing undue harm. For example, if we move to the States and it takes some time to find jobs and we need to dip into that savings account -- can be be considered as causing undue harm?


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

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That definitely makes sense. Thanks. Since in our case we're just looking at cash assets (no housing, IRAs, pension funds, etc), I'm wondering if having to spend the cash (theoretically) can be construed as posing undue harm. For example, if we move to the States and it takes some time to find jobs and we need to dip into that savings account -- can be be considered as causing undue harm?

I do believe if you are using cash assets, you need to be comfortably over the amount needed. Also, just in case:

What Cash Value of Assets is Needed?

The total net value of assets, less liens and liabilities against them, must equal five times the difference between the sponsor's income and 125% of the poverty level for the household size

Sponsors of spouses and children of U.S. citizens must only prove assets valued at three times the difference between the poverty guideline and actual household income.

Sponsors of orphans who will acquire citizenship after admission to the United States must only prove assets equal to the difference between the poverty guideline and actual household income.

Edited by KDH

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Hi everyone. Would really appreciate your thoughts on the "without undue harm" portion of the I-864 instructions. I am submitting the I-864 for my husband (I am his sole sponsor) and plan to use a combination of income and assets to fulfill the minimum income requirement. The assets will be the cash in my US savings account.

I am concerned about the "without undue harm" wording in the I-864 guidance: "The consular officer must find that the financial value of the asset can be converted to cash within one year to support the sponsored immigrant without undue harm to the sponsor or his/her family." (source: travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3183.html#23). What constitutes undue harm exactly? This is really vague, and probably intentionally so. Have any of you dealt with this issue before?

In our case, the assets are cash so we're not looking at having to sell of a house or liquidate a pension fund. Any advice?

Many, many thanks.

Harm is giving up your home, only car, cashing in your 401k early and getting hit hard with penalties and taxes, selling your grandma on eBay... :whistle:

Sounds like your assets will be fine.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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Harm is giving up your home, only car, cashing in your 401k early and getting hit hard with penalties and taxes, selling your grandma on eBay... :whistle:

Sounds like your assets will be fine.

but...but...I don't even like grandma! My kids won't miss her!


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I do believe if you are using cash assets, you need to be comfortably over the amount needed. Also, just in case:

Thanks -- that's exactly my concern. What qualifies as comfortably over? Right now I can meet the 3x requirement for my husband. Do you think 5x the requirement would be adequate to avoid the undue harm concern? If so, I would have to ask my mother to deposit that cash into my savings account. Is that permissible?


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

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Harm is giving up your home, only car, cashing in your 401k early and getting hit hard with penalties and taxes, selling your grandma on eBay... :whistle:

Sounds like your assets will be fine.

Thanks Nick. Although Grandma would probably have brought in a nice sum ;-)

This process is pretty nerve-wracking. I don't have much beyond the 3x asset requirement so even though it's cash, I'd hate for the consular officer to reject the application because I didn't have enough money in the bank...


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

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Thanks -- that's exactly my concern. What qualifies as comfortably over? Right now I can meet the 3x requirement for my husband. Do you think 5x the requirement would be adequate to avoid the undue harm concern? If so, I would have to ask my mother to deposit that cash into my savings account. Is that permissible?

I have mixed feelings on depositing cash that belongs to others, but a past thread showed someone get through by doing such a thing.

My personal opinion is that it seems like fraud to me since the money doesn't belong to you and you're depositing it to get approved.

Whether that person disclosed that the cash didn't belong to them? I don't know.

None of us know what they told the person during interview (as the cash was deposited right before the interview).

Large deposits of cash, however, are sometimes questioned and you should be prepared to explain it.


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I have mixed feelings on depositing cash that belongs to others, but a past thread showed someone get through by doing such a thing.

My personal opinion is that it seems like fraud to me since the money doesn't belong to you and you're depositing it to get approved.

Whether that person disclosed that the cash didn't belong to them? I don't know.

None of us know what they told the person during interview (as the cash was deposited right before the interview).

Large deposits of cash, however, are sometimes questioned and you should be prepared to explain it.

Agreed. It would have to be a gift - otherwise I would not be able to claim ownership of the money. Thanks for your help. Let's see how it goes!


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

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Thanks Nick. Although Grandma would probably have brought in a nice sum ;-)

This process is pretty nerve-wracking. I don't have much beyond the 3x asset requirement so even though it's cash, I'd hate for the consular officer to reject the application because I didn't have enough money in the bank...

You said you had some income so that means you don't have to have the full 3x in assets.

Say you need $20,000 to meet poverty guidelines and your salary income is $12,000.

You are short $8000 so need 3x8,000 in assets.

I wasn't sure if you were understanding that part, so ignore if you already know that. If your spouse has any cash assets, they can be counted.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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You said you had some income so that means you don't have to have the full 3x in assets.

Say you need $20,000 to meet poverty guidelines and your salary income is $12,000.

You are short $8000 so need 3x8,000 in assets.

I wasn't sure if you were understanding that part, so ignore if you already know that. If your spouse has any cash assets, they can be counted.

I should have been more specific. I have 3x the gap between my income and the 125% poverty guideline requirement. That's why I'm a bit concerned that it won't be enough to dismiss the undue harm consideration. But let's say I have $40K in the bank -- surely that's enough for two people (me + my spouse) to live on until we find jobs in the States, right? I can't imagine we'd blow through that much before finding decent employment. We have good qualifications, experience, etc so hopefully the Consulate takes that into account during the interview.


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

Share this post


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I have mixed feelings on depositing cash that belongs to others, but a past thread showed someone get through by doing such a thing.

My personal opinion is that it seems like fraud to me since the money doesn't belong to you and you're depositing it to get approved.

Whether that person disclosed that the cash didn't belong to them? I don't know.

None of us know what they told the person during interview (as the cash was deposited right before the interview).

Large deposits of cash, however, are sometimes questioned and you should be prepared to explain it.

Agreed. It would have to be a gift - otherwise I would not be able to claim ownership of the money. Thanks for your help. Let's see how it goes!


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone. Would really appreciate your thoughts on the "without undue harm" portion of the I-864 instructions. I am submitting the I-864 for my husband (I am his sole sponsor) and plan to use a combination of income and assets to fulfill the minimum income requirement. The assets will be the cash in my US savings account.

I am concerned about the "without undue harm" wording in the I-864 guidance: "The consular officer must find that the financial value of the asset can be converted to cash within one year to support the sponsored immigrant without undue harm to the sponsor or his/her family." (source: travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3183.html#23). What constitutes undue harm exactly? This is really vague, and probably intentionally so. Have any of you dealt with this issue before?

In our case, the assets are cash so we're not looking at having to sell of a house or liquidate a pension fund. Any advice?

Many, many thanks.

It's vague because it's a judgment call by a Consular Officer. If it's cash in savings, not 401k etc. and it puts you well over the required minimum using the $3 in assets to $1 in income shortfall ratio, you'll probably be OK. Things like liquidating the equity in your primary residence or liquidating a 401k are examples of undue harm.

Adding, usually it's best to show multiple months of bank statements, so the Consular Officer understands this is YOUR money, not somebody else loaning you money to qualify.

Edited by pushbrk

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It's vague because it's a judgment call by a Consular Officer. If it's cash in savings, not 401k etc. and it puts you well over the required minimum using the $3 in assets to $1 in income shortfall ratio, you'll probably be OK. Things like liquidating the equity in your primary residence or liquidating a 401k are examples of undue harm.

Adding, usually it's best to show multiple months of bank statements, so the Consular Officer understands this is YOUR money, not somebody else loaning you money to qualify.

Thank you. Fingers crossed!


11 Sep 2012: Married at the Old Marylebone Town Hall in London!!

09 Oct 2012: Mailed I-130 to USCIS Field Office in London

10 Oct 2012: I-130 arrives at USCIS Field Office

12 Oct 2012: $420 fee charged

26 Oct 2012: NOA-1 and RFE received

05 Nov 2012: RFE (affidavits) sent back to USCIS Field Office

12 Nov 2012: NOA-2 approved!

14 Jan 2013: Received case number by phone (it never arrived by post)

21 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-230 part I

21 Jan 2013: Medical examination at Knightsbridge Doctors

22 Jan 2013: DS-230 part I arrives at US Embassy

28 Jan 2013: Mailed DS-2001

29 Jan 2013: DS-2001 received at US Embassy

02 Mar 2013: Received interview date in mail (letter postmarked 01 Mar 2013)

14 Mar 2013: Interview...approved!!!

?? Mar 2013: Passport delivered by courier

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