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The 2011/2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines

The poverty guidelines are the other version of the federal poverty measure. They are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes - for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs. The poverty guidelines are sometimes loosely referred to as the "federal poverty level" (FPL), but that term is ambiguous and should be avoided, especially in situations (e.g., legislative or administrative) where precision is important.

2011/2012 Poverty Guidelines - For Immigrant Affidavit of Support

The Department of Health and Human Services on January 14, 2011, published its annual update of the Poverty Guidelines, taking into account increases in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. These guidelines are used in calculating levels of income and assets that immigrant visa petitioners and joint sponsors must demonstrate in their I-864, Affidavits of Support.

The following are the 2011/2012 Poverty Guidelines. The requirement for the affidavit of support is 125% of the poverty line. In order to calculate the amount, the numbers in the Poverty guideline column must be multiplied by 1.25.

48 Contiguous States and DC:

Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $10,890
2 14,710
3 18,530
4 22,350
5 26,170
6 29,990
7 33,810
8 37,630

For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,820 for each additional person.


Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $13,600
2 18,380
3 23,160
4 27,940
5 32,720
6 37,500
7 42,280
8 47,060

For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,780 for each additional person.


Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $12,540
2 16,930
3 21,320
4 25,710
5 30,100
6 34,490
7 38,880
8 43,270

For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,390 for each additional person.

When processing immigrant visa cases requiring an Affidavit of Support (I-864) requirement, under immigration law, the embassy consular section uses figures in the column on the right (125% of poverty guidelines) as the minimum income that a petitioner and/or a joint sponsor must demonstrate, or the column on the left (100%) for an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces sponsoring his or her spouse or children. Consular officers will consider the "totality of circumstances" (including the applicant's age, health, and education). Visa issuance can be denied if the applicant appears likely to become a public charge despite satisfying the poverty guideline requirements above.

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