Petitioners in the U.S. who are sponsoring their family members are required to submit a completed and signed Affidavit of Support - and report their latest , official tax returns not fish-wrap - to prove that the sponsored immigrants will not be receiving public benefits.
First, the official link - Revised Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2015
In submitting the Affidavit of Support, the petitioner would have to meet the income requirements set under the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Essentially, the total household income of the qualified household members where the petitioner lives must meet the requirements set in this latest guidelines.
Take note that petitioners who are living in Hawaii and Alaska need to have higher annual income amounts than their counterparts in the mainland.
The I-864 Affidavit of Support form is one of the more complicated forms a sponsoring family member (Petitioner) would encounter. Also, regardless of whether the petitioner has insufficient - or no income at all, said petitioner must still submit an Affidavit of Support (AOS).
Submitting the AOS proves at least three things to the U.S. Government, specifically to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Embassy officials:
By submitting the AOS, the USCIS and Consuls receive evidence that:
1) The petitioner is still alive - since the AOS must be signed by the petitioner. Death of the petitioner automatically revokes the petition.
2) The petitioner is domiciled in the United States instead of having returned to his or her country of nationality or origin. Abandoning domicile in the US is a basis for refusing a visa application.
3) The petitioner has obtained another financially able and equally-responsible co-sponsor or joint sponsor if the petitioner does not have sufficient income or has no income at all.