Real estate appraisals are accepted as primary support of a home's value across a range of immigration related programs including Green Card applications and Humanitarian Parole. Appraisals can be used to show financial support as part of supporter or sponsor financial due diligence along with typical documentation such as tax returns, employer letters, and proof of assets.
Our staff are experienced in writing appraisal reports that will ensure your fair market value is considered in your application. We are familiar with regulatory requirements and our reports meet requirements for the various immigration programs in which they are considered.
An appraisal can also provide assurance that an applicant is not likely to become a public charge. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) defines a public charge as "an alien who has received one or more benefits, as defined under the rule, for more than 12 months within any 36 month period". Determination of inadmissibility on these grounds requires assessment of six factors which are Age, Health, Family Status, Education and Skills, Affidavit of Support, and Financial Status (income, assets and resources).
As of Jan 6, 2023 the CHNV program requires submission of a Declaration of Financial Support if you are a potential supporter of a: Ukrainian or their immediate family member as part of Uniting for Ukraine; or Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan or their immediate family member as part of the Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans.
A shortfall in required income needed to satisfy a financial status requirement can be made up by "significant assets" that can be converted to cash within 1 year. This includes equity values for real estate determined by a recent valuation from a licensed appraiser.
We provide appraisals that meet or exceed the standards required. We are used to working with short delivery windows and we charge reasonable fees. Although we do not have fluent 2nd language staff, we grew up in South Florida and we can usually get by if we are in front of someone for an appointment that was already set. We also use translation apps and other means to communicate via email or whatever way can work for you. An appraisal is the "gold standard" for proving value, however we also want to make you aware that there are other options available such as utilizing property tax records.
The least expensive way to show the value of your home for the various immigration programs is to submit your current value estimate as determined by the local property tax authority (this is usually free). In Palm Beach County you can use the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser website www.pbcgov.org/papa/ to look up your property, and find their current estimate of your home's market value. However, the tax authority in Palm Beach County charges taxes in arears, and the value you see is usually the estimated value as of January 1st of the PRIOR year. The tax authority also typically tries to be a little under-market to avoid over taxing and the volume of challenges by tax payers. For a variety of reasons, tax assessor estimates can be lower than the current fair market value. If you believe your home is worth more than the tax authority estimate, you can strengthen your application by including an appraisal report.
Nadine Heitz is an attorney with Heitz Immigration Law in Lake Worth Beach and assisted the writer in preparation of the information above. If you need legal advice associated with your immigration case, she can be reached at email@example.com or by calling (561) 290-0101.