A petitioner is an individual who files an immigration petition or application, usually as the initiating act to enable the beneficiary to get a visa or permanent residence. In many cases, the petitioner is also the sponsor in such a scenario.

For a petitioner’s application to be successful, one of the documents they need to submit is an affidavit of support. It is assumed that the beneficiary will be the responsibility of the sponsor/petitioner until such a time as when the beneficiary has worked for more than 40 quarters or if they become fully fledged US citizens.

At this point, the beneficiary would no longer be the responsibility of the petitioner. For some categories of beneficiaries, the petitioner does not need to submit an affidavit of support. This includes individuals who have an approved form I-360 as a battered spouse or child. Orphans adopted by American citizens after a full adoption process are also exempt from this.

A petitioner has to prove that they have the financial capability of supporting the beneficiary. The income requirements for this include having an income that is at least 125% of the current Federal poverty guideline for the household size that they have. In addition to that, they also need to produce evidence of income including IRS Forms 1040 and 1040A. Income that includes alimony, child support or dividends may also be included for consideration.

Finally, a petitioner needs to be of good standing in that they should not have a recurrent history of unlawful activities or be drug abusers.