Affidavit of Support I-864
Immigrant Affidavit of Support I-864
As an immigration lawyer one of the most common issues that clients face is meeting the affidavit of support requirement. Under this requirement an intended immigrant family member must show that he will not become a public charge by relying on welfare for support. The legal form to do this is USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This form is used in most adjustment of status applications and when filing immigrant visa applications. Most family based immigrants and some employment-based immigrant cases require this form to check that intended immigrants have adequate financial support and are not likely to rely on welfare.
Common issues with affidavit of support i-864
The most common reasons people have problem with affidavits of support are:
- Including family members on affidavit of support i-864 who are not derivatives beneficiaries of the principal immigrant – not using separate forms for visa applicants who are immediate relatives.
- Sponsor makes insufficient income (i-864 sponsor is unemployed or retired)
- Sponsor has failed to file income tax returns when he has an obligation to do so
- Sponsor has incorrect filing status (e.g. filed as head of household or single when married)
- Sponsor lacks assets to supplement income
- Cash valuation of assets to supplement income (e.g. I own a Jimmy Hendrick’s guitar.)
- Ignoring liabilities on assets
- Self-employed income (my business makes $600,00 per year but because of depreciation I declare a loss on my personal income tax returns)
- Finding a willing and qualified joint sponsor
- Proving claimed income (tips not declared as income)
I-864 Filing Fee
There is no fee when filed with USCIS for permanent resident adjustment or abroad with the Department of State (DOS). DOS does charge a fee when this form is filed in the U.S. For more information, please visit the Department of State website.
Income Requirement for an I-864 Sponsor
You also must meet certain income requirements (whether you are a sponsor, a joint sponsor, or a substitute sponsor). You must show that your household income is equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size. Your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring.
If you, the sponsor, are on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, and the immigrant you are sponsoring is your spouse or child, your income only needs to equal 100% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size.
To see if you are above the poverty level, review “Form I-864P”.
How to File an Affidavit of Support You, the sponsor, should download and complete Form I-864 from when the National Visa Center instructs the the beneficiary of your petition to submit affidavit of support and immigrant visa forms after the requested fees have been paid. In addition your foreign relative may need an affidavit of support for his immigrant visa interview with a consular officer overseas or when he is about to submit an application for adjustment to permanent resident status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or with an Immigration Court in the United States.
If you cannot meet the minimum income requirements using your earned income, you have various options:
- You may add the cash value of your assets. This includes money in savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and property. To find 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 (the amount left over).
- If the person being sponsored is a spouse, or son/daughter (who is 18 years or older) of a U.S. citizen: The least cash value of assets must be three times the difference between the sponsor’s household income and 125% of the federal poverty guideline for the household.
- If the person being sponsored is an orphan coming to the United States for adoption: The adoptive parents’ assets need to equal or exceed the difference between the household income and 125% of the federal poverty line for the household size.
You may count the income and assets of members of your household who are related to you by birth, marriage, or adoption. To use their income you must have listed them as dependents on your most recent federal tax return or they must have lived with you for the last 6 months. They must also complete a Form I-864A, Contract between Sponsor and Household Member. If the relative you are sponsoring meets these criteria you may include the value of their income and assets, but the immigrant does not need to complete Form I-864A unless he or she has accompanying family members.
- You may count the assets of the relatives you are sponsoring.
Responsibilities as an I-864 Sponsor:
When you sign the affidavit of support, you accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant(s) generally until they become U.S. citizens or get credited with 40 quarters of work. Your obligation also ends if you or the person sponsored dies or if the person sponsored departs the United States and gives up permanent resident status by executing form I-407 at a US consulate.
Note: Divorce does NOT end the sponsorship obligation.
If the person you sponsored receives any “means-tested public benefits,” you may be held responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them. If you do not repay the debt, the agency can sue you in court to get the money owed. Any joint sponsors or household members whose income is used to meet the minimum income requirements are also legally responsible for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant. Be sure to read the Sponsor’s contract or statement on Form I-864 before signing. If you have any questions about your liability please seek independent legal counsel. If you are an intended immigrant through marriage, you may have questions about whether the person you intended to marry is a qualified sponsor for affidavit of support purposes. Do not wait until after the marriage to find out. Get advice early.
Where to get further information and immigration legal advice
Be sure to read affidavit of support i 864 form instructions. For further information please see link below:
If you petitioned for a family member and need legal service for an affidavit of support problem or other legal immigration matter, please contact our law office for a consultation with our attorney for immigration.