An Affidavit of Support is a legal document used in immigration law to demonstrate that a sponsored immigrant will have the financial support necessary to avoid becoming a public charge in the United States. The purpose of the affidavit is to assure the U.S. government that the sponsored immigrant will not require government assistance for living expenses and will be financially supported by the sponsoring individual or entity.
In the context of U.S. immigration, the Affidavit of Support is typically required for family-sponsored immigrants and employment-based immigrants. It is commonly used in family-based immigration categories such as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and family-sponsored preference categories.
The person providing the affidavit of support is often referred to as the “sponsor.” The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and must be at least 18 years old. The sponsor is legally obligated to financially support the immigrant until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, has worked or earned credit for 40 qualifying quarters of work, dies, or leaves the United States permanently.
To file an Affidavit of Support, the sponsor must use the appropriate form, which is typically Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, for family-sponsored immigrants, and Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, for certain employment-based immigrants.
How to fill out Affidavit of Support
Filling out the Affidavit of Support form depends on the specific version of the form you are using, as there may be updates or changes over time. Form I-864 is commonly used for family-sponsored immigrants, while Form I-134 is often used for certain employment-based immigrants.
Here are general guidelines on how to fill out Form I-864, Affidavit of Support:
- Download the Form:
- Obtain the latest version of Form I-864 from the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (uscis.gov).
- Read the Instructions:
- Before filling out the form, carefully read the instructions provided by USCIS. The instructions provide important information on who can be a sponsor, who can be a sponsored immigrant, and how to complete each section of the form.
- Provide Sponsor Information:
- Complete the sponsor’s personal information, including name, address, date of birth, and Social Security Number.
- Provide Household Size:
- Determine the household size by counting the sponsor, the sponsor’s dependents, and the sponsored immigrant(s). This information is used to establish the income requirement.
- Income and Employment Information:
- Provide details about the sponsor’s income, employment, and any other sources of income. The sponsor needs to meet certain income requirements to demonstrate the ability to financially support the sponsored immigrant(s). Attach supporting documents such as tax returns, W-2 forms, and proof of current employment.
- Sponsored Immigrant Information:
- Provide information about the sponsored immigrant, including their name, relationship to the sponsor, and any other relevant details.
- Contractual Obligations:
- Sign and date the affidavit, certifying under penalty of perjury that the information provided is true and that the sponsor accepts legal responsibility for financially supporting the immigrant.
- Submit Supporting Documents:
- Include all required supporting documents, such as tax returns, W-2 forms, and proof of current employment, as specified in the instructions.
- Submit the Form:
- Mail the completed Form I-864 and supporting documents to the address provided in the form instructions.
For Form I-134, the process is similar, but the form is generally used for nonimmigrant visa applicants, including those applying for a tourist visa or a fiancé(e) visa.
Form I-864 checklist of required documents
When preparing Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, you will need to include various supporting documents to demonstrate your financial eligibility and meet the requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here is a general Form I-864 checklist of required documents:
- Tax Documents:
- Copies of the most recent federal income tax returns (Form 1040) filed by the sponsor. This is usually for the past three years.
- Attach all supporting documents, such as W-2s and 1099s, related to the tax returns.
- Proof of Income:
- If the sponsor is employed, provide evidence of current employment, such as pay stubs or a letter from the employer. If self-employed, provide business or tax records.
- If the sponsor has additional sources of income (e.g., rental income, dividends), provide documentation to support those claims.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency:
- A copy of the sponsor’s U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or a copy of the front and back of the green card (permanent resident card).
- Proof of Relationship to the Sponsored Immigrant:
- If the sponsor is a relative of the intending immigrant, provide evidence of the relationship, such as birth or marriage certificates.
- Proof of Assets:
- If the sponsor’s income is insufficient to meet the required income level, assets can be used to supplement. Provide evidence of assets such as bank statements, real estate holdings, or other significant assets.
- Affidavit of Support Contract:
- The completed and signed Form I-864, with all required information provided.
- Additional Evidence (if applicable):
- Any additional evidence that supports the sponsor’s ability to financially support the immigrant, such as proof of alimony or child support payments.
- Divorce Decree or Death Certificate (if applicable):
- If the sponsor has been previously married, provide a copy of the divorce decree or the death certificate of the former spouse.
- Sponsored Immigrant’s Documents:
- Copies of the sponsored immigrant’s visa, passport, and any other relevant documents.
- Translation of Documents (if applicable):
- If any documents are not in English, provide a certified translation.