36. What assets can be used?
Any type of asset can be used if it is readily convertible to cash within a year. Liquid assets such as savings deposits, stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit will be viewed most favorably because they would be most accessible for the support of sponsored immigrants. Other assets, such as property, may also be acceptable if they can be sold within a year.
37. What evidence of assets is required?
Evidence establishing ownership and the value and location of assets is needed. Additionally, information on any liens and liabilities relating to these assets must be provided. For bank accounts, bank statements for the most recent 12 months, or a letter from the bank stating the date the account was opened, a history of deposits and withdrawals for the past year, and the current balance are needed.
38. Can the immigrant visa applicant count assets that he or she owns that are outside the U.S., such as real estate or personal property?
Yes, under these conditions:
- The assets must be readily convertible to cash within 12 months
- The applicant must show that he or she can take the money or assets out of the country where they are located. Many countries have strict regulations which limit the amount of cash or liquid assets that can be taken out of the country
- The assets equal at least five times the difference between the sponsor’s income and 125 per cent of the poverty line for the household size
39. Can free housing be counted as income?
Yes, sponsors who receive housing and other benefits in place of salary may count those benefits as income. The sponsor may count income that is not subject to taxation (such as housing allowance), as well as taxable income. The sponsor would have to prove the nature and amount of any income that is not included as wages or salary or other taxable income. Evidence of such income can be shown through notations on the W-2 Form (such as Box 13 for military allowances), Form 1099 or other documents that show the claimed income.
40. Does a sponsor need to submit a new Affidavit of Support if new poverty guidelines are issued before the case is decided?
Immigration officers will begin to use new poverty guidelines at the start of the second month after HHS publishes them in the Federal Register. As long as the INS Affidavit of Support form demonstrates sufficient income to meet the 125 per cent income requirement for the sponsor’s household size under the new poverty guidelines, a new Affidavit of Support will not normally be required.