The I-864, Affidavit of Support, can be a very confusing immigration document for those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the immigration system. If you are embarking upon the lengthy immigration process, you will most likely come across this form at some point in the process.
The I-864, Affidavit of Support, is required for all Adjustment of Status cases-all cases where a Petitioner is petitioning a member of his/her family to come to the United States to live as a lawful permanent resident. If you are petitioning for a family member abroad (also known as Consular Processing), or petitioning for a family member already in the United States (known as Adjustment of Status), you will need to file the I-864.
By completing and submitting the I-864, Affidavit of Support, you are swearing that you will take financial responsibility for your family member until that person becomes a United States Citizen. The government requires this form for most family-based petitions to ensure that the immigrant does not become a public charge. As such, there are certain income requirements a Sponsor must meet in order to be eligible to file the I-864. This article will walk you through an explanation of the terminology of the I-864, Affidavit of Support, as well as supporting documents needed, filing requirements, and troubleshooting information.
As always for all immigration cases, I suggest that you consult with an Immigration Attorney if you need legal advice. This article is very general and is not all-inclusive, so it should not be used in replace of an attorney’s legal advice.
Sponsor– The Sponsor for the I-864 is the person whose income is being used to support the immigrant. The original Petitioner is the sponsor.
Joint-Sponsor- A Joint-Sponsor is to be used when the Sponsor does not meet the income requirements. This person will be held to the same obligations as the Sponsor.
Household Member– Similar to Joint-Sponsor, but someone who lives in the Sponsor’s Household.
Intending Immigrant– The person who is being petitioned, or who is immigrating to the U.S.
Other Versions of the I-864
The I-864 is the most common Affidavit of Support, but there are other Affidavit of Supports. The I-864EZ can be used in certain circumstances, and the I-864A is to be completed, when necessary, by the Sponsor’s Household Member. The I-864W is an Exemption from the requirements of the Affidavit of Support and should only be used in specific circumstances.
All versions of the I-864 can be downloaded online at www.uscis.gov, under immigration forms.
The Sponsor of the Affidavit of Support, in most circumstances, must have an income that is at least 125% over the poverty line. The current poverty line guidelines can be accessed at the uscis.gov under I-864P. If the sponsor does not meet these requirements, see the troubleshooting section of this article.
The I-864 should be filed with the following supporting documents attached:
1. Income Tax Return & W-2s for the most current tax year
2. Proof of Citizenship of Permanent Residency (copy of birth certificate or naturalization certificate or resident card)
It is recommended that the I-864 Affidavit of Support be filed with the following documents:
3. Letter from Employer stating length of employment, if position is full time or part time, and the salary paid.
4. Income Tax Returns & W-2s from 2nd and 3rd most recent tax year
5. Proof of Current Income
What if I don’t meet the income requirement?
If you don’t meet the income requirement, you have a couple of options:
1.Get a Joint Sponsor- Someone whose income does meet the requirements can become a joint sponsor-this person must file all the same paperwork as the sponsor and meet those same requirements (the joint sponsor will file the I-864 as well).
2. Household Member Sponsor- Someone in your household can support the intending immigrant by filing the I-864A.
3. Use the Income from the Intending Immigrant- If the intending immigrant has income that is expected to continue after he/she becomes a permanent resident, you can use that person’s income to meet the requirements. The intending immigrant must live in your household to qualify.
What if I am currently unemployed?
If you are unemployed, you must get a joint sponsor. You can use your assets as well.
What if I am retired?
If you are retired and are receiving retirement benefits and those meet the income requirements, when combined with your assets, you do not need a joint sponsor. If this is not the case, you do need a joint sponsor.
What if the Immigrant will be a U.S. Citizen upon arrival to the United States?
If this is the case, you do not need to file the Affidavit of Support. Instead, an exemption is required, and the immigrant will file the I-864W, or Affidavit of Support Exemption, instead.
How do I count household size?
The following people must be counted in your household size:
You and the intending immigrant.
The following must be counted in your household size, if applicable:
Your spouse, any children under 21, any one claimed as Dependent on your tax returns, any person previously sponsored on the I-864 that are not yet U.S. Citizens.
I hope the information in this article has helped you, but remember that it is just general information and should not
be used as legal advice. Always consult an immigration attorney prior to commencing any immigration case.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein should not be considered legal advice for any individual case or situation. No relationship is created by the usage of any of this information. I recommend you to consult an Immigration Attorney if you require legal advice.