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CMFries

I-864: Show immigrant's PhD fellowship salary?

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I am a PhD student on an F-1 visa with a visa expiration date of December 2019. My program started in 2014. I am getting married to my U.S. citizen fiance in 4 months, and we will be submitting the Adjustment of Status package soon after. We would appreciate some help regarding Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. 

My fiance, as the sponsor, needs to show on the I-864 that his yearly salary is at or above $20,025 (125% of the poverty level for a household of 2). Unfortunately, his salary is below this amount. However, as a PhD student, I have a fellowship, which gives me a salary of $27,000 per year. Is there any way to show my own salary as evidence that I will have financial support as a potential permanent resident?

We have had a joint bank account since August 2015, if that matters.

Thanks!

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I believe you can use your fellowship income as long as it'll continue even after you have AOS'd. I believe you would just fill out a I-864A and add it to his income. Make sure to have plenty of proof though that this income would continue.

Edited by Ash.1101

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On 1/15/2017 at 1:05 PM, CMFries said:

I am a PhD student on an F-1 visa with a visa expiration date of December 2019. My program started in 2014. I am getting married to my U.S. citizen fiance in 4 months, and we will be submitting the Adjustment of Status package soon after. We would appreciate some help regarding Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. 

My fiance, as the sponsor, needs to show on the I-864 that his yearly salary is at or above $20,025 (125% of the poverty level for a household of 2). Unfortunately, his salary is below this amount. However, as a PhD student, I have a fellowship, which gives me a salary of $27,000 per year. Is there any way to show my own salary as evidence that I will have financial support as a potential permanent resident?

We have had a joint bank account since August 2015, if that matters.

Thanks!

 

Not sure if you have filed yet, but speaking from personal experience USCIS does not seem to accept fellowships as income. Maybe your case is different, but with my fellowship, there are no paystubs since it is distributed through financial aid from the federal government and it doesn't show up on my W2's. I am not even sure yet exactly how to claim it on my taxes this upcoming year. I recommend getting a joint sponsor. Your fiance has to be the main petitioner and should include her income, whatever can be proven by income tax returns, on an i 864. Your joint sponsor should make above the poverty level for their household size and needs to fill out an additional i 864. If your fellowship is a yearly contract, which I assume is likely, then it will be difficult to show that it will continue. Being a student is a tough position. Your safe bet would be to get one of your parents to sign up as a joint sponsor. Otherwise you are probably going to get an RFIE like we did and it will set you back, as an RFIE resets the clock and could add an additional 90 days to the processing time for your AP/EAD card.

 

Best of luck!


AOS Timeline

Married: 08/26/2016

AOS Filed: 10/27/2016

AOS Case received: 10/31/2016

NOA Received: 11/16/2016

Biometrics Appointment: 12/08/2016

RFIE response received: 01/13/2017

EAD Card in production: 03/14/2017 

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6 minutes ago, lmenko said:

 

 I am not even sure yet exactly how to claim it on my taxes this upcoming year.

Imenko, you should request a form 1098-T from your university. Fellowships/grants information is there. If it hasn't been taxed before it made its way to your bank account, get ready for a surprise this tax season :(


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9 minutes ago, el_greco said:

Imenko, you should request a form 1098-T from your university. Fellowships/grants information is there. If it hasn't been taxed before it made its way to your bank account, get ready for a surprise this tax season :(

Unfortunately, I don't qualify for a 1098-T from my University because my "qualified tuition and related expenses are entirely waived or paid entirely with scholarships". The financial aid and bursar's office were both pretty much like, "good luck, you should definitely hire an accountant" because I have partial income from two sources for the first half of the tax year and fellowship for the second half, and no one seemed to know how to claim the fellowship on my taxes.. With grants, I usually pay something like 10% on them, but not sure what to do about this. Not even sure if they have already been taxed or not. Plus, filing jointly through marriage now, going to be quite the tax season. 

  •  

AOS Timeline

Married: 08/26/2016

AOS Filed: 10/27/2016

AOS Case received: 10/31/2016

NOA Received: 11/16/2016

Biometrics Appointment: 12/08/2016

RFIE response received: 01/13/2017

EAD Card in production: 03/14/2017 

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1 hour ago, lmenko said:

Unfortunately, I don't qualify for a 1098-T from my University because my "qualified tuition and related expenses are entirely waived or paid entirely with scholarships". The financial aid and bursar's office were both pretty much like, "good luck, you should definitely hire an accountant" because I have partial income from two sources for the first half of the tax year and fellowship for the second half, and no one seemed to know how to claim the fellowship on my taxes.. With grants, I usually pay something like 10% on them, but not sure what to do about this. Not even sure if they have already been taxed or not. Plus, filing jointly through marriage now, going to be quite the tax season. 

  •  

Imenko, I can see from your situation why your fellowship would be difficult to show on your taxes. In my case, I get regular W-2s like an employee of the university, so it is easy to show. I am just going to show a continuation letter from the university and my recent W-2s, as Ash.1101 suggested. I will be filing next week.

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You wouldnt fill out the 864a. You just add your income on the 864 your US spouse fills out. Take a look at the actual form. Its pretty self explanatory. There is a section for adding 'intending immigrants income'- which is you. (the 864a IS for spouses but its the spouse of the sponsor signing when the spouse is not the intending immigrant- so if Mr X was going to sponsor you as a joint sponsor and wanted to use his money and Mrs Xs money- then you would have an 864 by your husband- showing his income and yours, an 864 from Mr X and the 864a from Mrs X. If its just you and your husband you would both be on his 864,)

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20 hours ago, CMFries said:

Imenko, I can see from your situation why your fellowship would be difficult to show on your taxes. In my case, I get regular W-2s like an employee of the university, so it is easy to show. I am just going to show a continuation letter from the university and my recent W-2s, as Ash.1101 suggested. I will be filing next week.

 

Having a W2 is great. However, in reference to your original question, i still recommend obtaining a joint sponsor who has a FT contract job with tax returns because proving continuity of funds with education based income is a bit more risky for AOS and there is a probability that you will get an RFE on that. I really recommend that if possible, just use any income the petitioner has and an additional i 864 filled out for a joint sponsor with a long term job (maybe a parent or relative, etc.). Good luck!


AOS Timeline

Married: 08/26/2016

AOS Filed: 10/27/2016

AOS Case received: 10/31/2016

NOA Received: 11/16/2016

Biometrics Appointment: 12/08/2016

RFIE response received: 01/13/2017

EAD Card in production: 03/14/2017 

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