What Is Affidavit Of Support?

An Affidavit of Support is a document that a friend or family member who agrees to accept financial responsibility for you submits with your green card visa application. Your financial sponsor is usually the same person sponsoring your marriage green card. To file an Affidavit of Support, your spouse must submit Form I-864 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency, on your behalf. They will have to provide identifying information, such as their social security number and additional information, including financial status. If applicable, they will indicate if they have active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces. Every green card applicant must file Form I-864 as part of their application.

An affidavit of support is a contract signed by the sponsor to show that the person applying for a green card is not likely to become a “public charge.” “Public charge” is a term that has been used for many years to describe people who are dependent on the government.

Types of Affidavits of Support:

There are different variations of Form I-864 you may have to submit with your application. You will need to file at least one and possibly two if your sponsoring spouse does not meet income requirements.

Full-Length Form I-864. Unless you qualify for an exemption, you must submit Form I-864 with your application, even if your spouse’s income is insufficient. If your spouse’s income is not enough, you can consider getting a joint sponsor to meet the financial requirements. Additionally, unless your spouse already filed or intended to file the following petitions, they must submit the full-length Form I-864: Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” which is for immediate relatives including spouses, unmarried children, siblings, or parents; Form I-140, “Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker” if the sponsoring relative has a 5% or more interest in a business that filed for your employment-based immigrant visa petition and; If your sponsor already filed Form I-130 or Form I-140 for you, then they could file Form I-864EZ instead of Form I-864.Form I-864EZ. Your spouse can use Form I-864EZ, a shorter version of the Form I-864, if they meet any of these requirements: they already filed a Form I-130 petition on your behalf; they only listed one immigrant on the Form I-130 petition they filed, and you are their only sponsored immigrant; their salary and pension only are enough to provide you with financial support. They can use W-2 forms provided by their employer to show this income. Joint sponsors cannot use this form. Anyone who filed Form I-140 as a substitute sponsor for a deceased petitioner does not qualify. In addition, if your spouse is sponsoring more than one immigration application, such as you and your dependents, they cannot use this form.Form I-864A. To sponsor your green card application, your spouse should have an annual income of at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for their location and household size. Otherwise, they cannot sponsor you, and they need to find another way to meet the household income requirement. Moreover, your spouse can use household members or anyone listed on their most recent federal income tax return as another source of income. If other household members are willing to help you, they need to sign Form I-864A, “Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member.” By signing Form I-864A, they promise to provide you with any financial support your spouse cannot cover. To qualify as a household member, the person must be over age 18, related to your spouse, and residing in their household. If they live elsewhere, your spouse must have claimed them as a dependent on their most recent federal income tax return. Your spouse must submit both Form I-864 and Form I-864A, if they are getting help from a household member.Form I-864W. You do not need to file Form I-864 with your application if you qualify for an exemption. Instead, you should file Form I-864W if you meet any of these eligibility requirements: You have proof of 40 quarters of work, or about 10 years, in the United States. In some cases, according to the Social Security Act, you can get credit for work performed by your spouse during the marriage or by your parents while you were younger than 18. The Social Security Administration allows you to provide evidence and count your quarters of work on their website. Upon entering the United States, you will acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. You are a self-petitioning widow/er or self-petitioning battered spouse or child, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved your Form I-360, “Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.”

What Happens if You Cannot Meet the Minimum Income Requirements?

If you cannot meet the minimum income requirements using your earned income, you have different options:

You may add the cash value of your assets. This includes money in savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and property. To determine the amount of assets required to qualify, subtract your household income from the minimum income requirement (125% of the poverty level for your family size). You must prove the cash value of your assets is worth five times this difference.

Exceptions:

What Is the Affidavit of Support Document Files?

In addition to the form, the sponsor must attach the following supporting documents:

Proof that they are a US citizen or LPR by submitting:

Their most recent federal tax returns in the correct page order and stapled together. If the sponsor does not have a recent tax return, they must attach either:

Statement from an employee of the bank where the sponsor has their assets with these details:

If the sponsor is self-employed, they must submit these documents:

If the applicant has a joint sponsor, the joint sponsor must also submit:

What Are the Financial Obligations of a Financial Sponsor?

By filing the completed Form I-864, your spouse agrees to a contract with the U.S. government to financially support you and prevent you from becoming a public charge or dependent on public benefits. Government agencies can force your spouse to repay any public benefits you use after obtaining your green card, such as Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI). This rule does not apply to all benefits, so check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services guidelines.

Your spouse’s responsibilities expire when any of these circumstances happen:

Your spouse’s responsibilities do not expire if they move. They are obligated to file Form I-865, Sponsor’s Change of Address, within 30 days of an address change or risk a fine from the government.

If your spouse has been a financial sponsor for anyone in the past and the obligation has not expired, those dependents will count when your spouse files a new Affidavit of Support.

How to Fill Out the Affidavit of Support:

Tip # 1: Use the Latest Version of Form I-864

You should always use the latest version of any USCIS immigration form to prepare your applications. Attention: If you submit the outdated version of any immigration form, USCIS will reject your application.

Step 1: Basis for Filing Affidavit of Support

This part identifies your relation to the immigration application. Provide your full legal name (the sponsor) in the space provided, then select the Item Number that reflects your basis for filing Form I-864.

Step 2: Information About the Principal Immigrant

This is the primary immigrant in the immigration case you are sponsoring. Provide information about the primary immigrant only in Part 2.

Step 3: Information About the Immigrants you are Sponsoring

Here, you must state which individual or individuals you are choosing to sponsor. You may have been sponsoring only the Principal Immigrant, or you may have been sponsoring additional individuals immigrating together with the Principal Immigrant.

Step 4: Information About You (Sponsor)

Once you (sponsor) fill all the details regarding your full legal name and the corresponding addresses, you will be directed to the next sections.

Step 5: Sponsor’s Household Size

You need to provide USCIS the total number of people you’ll be financially responsible for. Be careful with the counting. Do not count the same member of your household twice. For instance, if you are sponsoring the spouse, who’s currently residing with you, do not count him/her twice. In such case, you can enter “0” in item 3 “If you are currently married, enter “1” for your spouse” to avoid counting your spouse twice. This way, you will have the accurate household size in Form I-864.

Step 6: Sponsor’s Employment and Income

Here, the sponsor needs to provide detailed information about his/her employment.

Step 7: Sponsor’s Contract, Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature

The immigration service will reject your Affidavit, if it contains any errors. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to spend time carefully reviewing the form. Read the contract carefully, then sign and date the affidavit.

Step 8: Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

If an interpreter helped you to complete Form I-864, he or she will have to complete. This section will ask for all the details of the interpreter. He/she must fill in these sections carefully, followed by signing and dating your affidavit.

Step 9: Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Affidavit, if Other Than the Sponsor

The preparer who helped you with filling out Form I-864, will have to complete this part. If the person who completed this affidavit is associated with a business or organization, he/she should complete the business or organization name and address information. Anyone (attorney, friend, family member, etc.) who helped you complete this affidavit must sign and date the affidavit.

Step 10: Additional Information

This section is for you to provide any additional information in the affidavit. You can also make copies of this section, for extra space and file it with your affidavit. Do not forget to sign your form. Remember, USCIS will reject any unsigned form.

FAQs

What Is the Validity of Form I-864?

As an affidavit of support, Form I-864 does not expire, unless the person who is being sponsored becomes a U.S. citizen, has worked 40 quarters of work in the U.S. (usually 10 years), or leaves the U.S.

Are Affidavits of Support Enforceable?

It is a binding contract by the sponsor for support of the immigrant and potentially for repayment of certain benefits received by the immigrant. It depends on which type of affidavit the sponsor signed. There are two major types of affidavits. The “non-enforceable” affidavit of support (USCIS Form I‑134), which was the main form used before December 19, 1997, is still used by some immigrants. The “enforceable” affidavit of support (USCIS Form I‑864) has been used since December 19, 1997.

Which Immigrants Do Not Need an Affidavit of Support?

Many categories of immigrants are not required to have a sponsor file an affidavit of support on their behalf, including: refugees and asylees applying for a green card, people applying for a green card who are in the following categories: applying through “registry” (having resided in the U.S. since before Jan. 1, 1972), applying under the Nicaraguan Adjustment or the Cuban American Relief Act, applying under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act or the Cuban Adjustment Act, certain Indochinese, Polish, and Hungarian parolees, self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act, survivors of trafficking or other serious crimes, and applying as special immigrant juveniles.

Can Immigrants Whose Sponsor Signed An “Enforceable” Affidavit Get Public Benefits?

Yes, of course. Immigrants whose sponsors signed “enforceable” affidavits may be eligible for certain public benefits, including emergency Medicaid.

When NOT to Submit an Affidavit of Support?

The following types of people do not need to file an affidavit of support: an individual who has earned or can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters (credits) of work in the United States; an individual who has an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant as a self-petitioning widow or widower; an individual who has an approved Form I-360 as a battered spouse or child; or orphans adopted by U.S. citizens abroad if a full and formal adoption takes place before the orphan acquires permanent residence and both adoptive parents have seen the child before or during the adoption.

Working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier to file an Affidavit of Support. If you cannot afford the attorney fees and do not want to handle your green card case alone, there are legal counsels that will help you out. Just take note that the sponsor must read and follow the instructions. Any mistake on the form will delay the processing of the visa. And incorrect or fraudulent information may lead to USCIS denying the Green Card of the applicant.