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How to complete Part 6 on the Form I-864 (Sponsor’s Employment and Income)

Part 6 is an extremely important section of the Form I-864. Most problems we observe with the Form I-864 come from incorrect answers on this section.

Household versus individual income. This section asks you to report both your individual income (item 2) and your current household income (item 15). Your “Household income” means your income as reported on your most recent IRS tax return. If you filed a Form 1040 return you must report your total income; if you filed a Form 1040EZ you report your adjusted gross income. This distinction is extremely important!

Your individual income will be different from your household income if you filed joint tax returns with a. If you did, then you will need to isolate which of the reported income was yours versus the souse. To do this, refer to your W-2 from the most recent tax years, along with any Forms 1099 or Schedules showing your income.

It is extremely important that the numbers in this Part add up correctly. Household Income must equal the sum of the individual income reported for each household member. For household with complex income, it will be easiest to ask your accountant to provide a statement showing the breakdown of income between household members.

What if your income went up or down since the last time you filed federal tax returns?

If you income has changed since the last time you filed taxes then you will need to report your new income level. Please note that if you do this you will need to provide 6 months of paystubs to validate the newly claimed income. It is also a good idea to provide an original, signed letter from your employer stating your date of hire and current salary. This poses a substantial extra burden for you. If your most recent reported income was above the required level, it will be far easier to simply report that number. The immigration service defines “income” as what was reported on the most recent returns.


The I-864 can get very complicated for someone who is self-employed. For a sponsor without W-2 income, she/he will have the task of carefully documenting the sources of income in a way that can be understood by the immigration services. Here are things you may wish to consider providing in the case of self-employment. Note that these are in addition to the income tax documentation, which is required in call cases:

  • Profit/loss statement. This is a helpful way to show the immigration service that the self-employed sponsor is making money.
  • Bank statements. 12 months of bank statements for the business. If the sponsor has been using a personal bank account for business income/expenses then it is critical to provide separate accounting of business cash flow.
  • Federal business tax returns. If the sponsor files a Schedule C with her/his personal income tax returns this should be provided, along with any other schedules and/or 1099s showing income.

Non-taxable income. Non-taxable income may be used to meet the required financial support amount, such as the following scenarios. Be careful to provide documentation of these benefits, since by definition they will not be accounted for in your reported “total income” on tax returns.

  • Social Security earnings.
  • Investment earnings.
  • Legal settlements.
  • Inherited funds.
  • Life insurance proceeds.
  • Disability insurance and disability compensation.
  • Unemployment insurance. Note that this is problematic, as the immigration service may have concerns about the longevity of such benefits, which are limited in duration.



How to complete Part 6 on the Form I-864 (Sponsor’s Employment and Income)
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Greg McLawsen

I’m proud to be the founder of Sound Immigration. My job is to work behind the scenes to ensure our clients have an outstanding experience at our firm. I’m passionate about reinventing the practice of law to make it work better for those we serve. I work hard to identify the best available technology to make our firm convenient for clients. I look to other industries, like real estate and the restaurant business, to learn about practice that will help serve our clients better.

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. does question 6 part 24 a,b,c on i864 all need to be filled in by the sponsor, he knows 2017 and 2016, but cant locate 2015. Does he need to send in bank statements also?

  2. Hi, I would like to know that if i am the petitioner but not the financial sponsor (not even the joint sponsor), then do i still need to fill Part 3 (Information About the Immigrants You Are Sponsoring).

    1. The petitioner in a family-based case is a mandatory financial sponsor unless the person meets an exemption for the I-864 requirement. But in any event, you have to fill out the I-864 only if you are a sponsor.

      1. Let me expand on my question. I am the petitioner and on social security so I cannot sponsor them financially. However my grand daughter is able to sponsor them financially. So she would be filing as “the only joint sponsor” and would fill a separate I 864.
        My question is: In the I 864 that I fill do i fill the section 3 and subsequent sections even though I cannot financially sponsor the primary applicant and her dependent.
        Sorry for the confusion.

  3. Hi our household size is two, my sponsor and me. His income is past the federal poverty guidelines, is it ok that the figure for the individual annual income and the household income is the same? We currently live together but i am self employed. His income is the only income contributing to the household.

  4. My wife is housewife but we file taxes jointly even though she does not have income. She is sponsoring her parents. Does she need to file I 864 and then do I need to file I864 A and become her co sponsor. Secondly, does this process needs to be completed separately for each of the parent since their are two different applications for each parent.

    1. Yes, if she needs your income for sponsorship purposes she will complete the I-864 and you will complete the I-864A. If she is a US citizen sponsoring parents through the visa process she will do a separate I-864 for each parent.

  5. Good day! What if my sponsor is both employed and self employed, what part of the irs transcript should i input on the affidavit of support form? thank you

  6. Help please! I was a Us citizen living abroad and qualified for foreign earned income exclusion; now I had to come back to Usa for work and currently adjusting parents status for permanent residency however my I 864 shows negative total income on my 1040; what should I do?

  7. my petitioner’s annual income meet the federal poverty guidelines but his 1040 individual income tax return is negative and he is self employed, do we need to file with the i-864 with co-sponsor? thank you!

    1. You can sometimes get an I-864 for a self-employed person through based on documentation from an accountant showing what his actual access to income was (i.e., despite write-offs, etc.). If you lack access to a good accountant then it may be more expedient to proceed with a joint sponsor if you can locate one. There is no penalty to you for getting a joint sponsor; only that person’s liability.

  8. In the brackets after Current Annual Household Income, it says: (Total all lines from Part 6, Item Numbers etcetc) – basically the total of the income of the entire household. However, my sponsor earns much past the federal poverty guideline so doesn’t need to use and didn’t input the income of anyone else in her household (e.g. her spouse). If she totals those items numbers, it will just be her own income, as she didn’t need to include other household members’ income, but the question states annual household income, so does she still need to put her total household income that appeared on her joint tax return? Hope the question isn’t confusing, thank you!

    1. Howdy, Kate. Yeah, virtually everything about the I-864 is stupidly complicated.

      If the sponsor’s income is sufficient then you don’t need to wade into the weeds of reporting other household member’s income. If the tax returns include other folks’ income then you have to tease out what income is the sponsor’s alone. You will need to submit an explanation and supporting documents to avoid an RFE if the reported income on the I-864 differs from “total income” on the 1040.

    2. I see, thank you! So basically I can just put my sponsor’s income under “Current Annual Household Income” (since she’s not using anyone else’s income) and then provide and explanation and evidence (her W2 and 1099s) as to why this number is different from her total income on 1040?

  9. Do I have to submit tax return transcripts for form I 864 or are federal tax returns enough? My 2017 tax return has been filed and accepted by the IRS. I filed through turbo tax. When I download the federal return from the website the form says “form not final do not file” Will this be adequate? This is a very time sensitive matter. Thank you

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