The Affidavit of Support or Immigration Form I-864 may seem daunting for family-based immigrants who work for a US company. The form is an immigration documentation form combined with financial records, not unlike a tax return.
This document is required for the vast majority of family-based and some employment-based immigrants. Preparing and filing the form correctly is vital to the success of green card applications. Here is more about what is required to fill out an Immigration Form I-864.
What is the Affidavit of Support Form?
Immigration Form I-864, also known as an Affidavit of Support, is a contract between the U.S. government and the sponsor of a green card seeker to accept financial responsibility if the immigrant is unable to support themselves while in the U.S.
The financial sponsor is often — but not always — the same person as the sponsoring family member for the green card application.
Who Needs To Submit Form I-864 With Their Green Card Application?
The following immigrants must submit Form I-864, completed by the sponsor:
- Family-based green card applicants
- Employment-based preference green card applicants when a family member submitted the visa petition
- Employment-based preference green card applicants when a family member has a 5 percent or more ownership interest in the entity that submitted the visa petition
Who Can Be a Form I-864 Sponsor?
The financial sponsor must meet the following requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen or green card holder
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reside in the United States
- Have an annual income amounting to at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
Note that the more people live in the sponsor’s household, the higher the income will need to be to meet the threshold.
What if the Sponsor Can’t Meet the Income Requirement?
If the sponsor’s income is below the minimum threshold, they can:
Add other household members’ income: The sponsor may combine their income with the income of a spouse, parents, adult children, or siblings living in the same household. Each household member who joins as a sponsor will need to file Form I-864A together with the primary Form I-864.
Have a joint sponsor: It’s possible to add up to two joint sponsors. They don’t need to be related to the main sponsor or green card seeker.
Use assets: Sponsors may use assets that can be converted into cash within one year without considerable hardship to meet the income requirement. Examples of eligible assets include real estate and bank account balances.
Add the green card seeker’s income: The green card seeker may use their own income to meet the financial requirements, but only if this income stream remains intact after their green card application is successful.
When Do the Sponsor’s Financial Obligations End?
The financial sponsor’s obligations under Immigration Form I-864 terminate when one of the following events happens:
- The green card seeker becomes a U.S. citizen.
- The green card seeker has worked or can receive credit for 40 quarters in the U.S.
- The green card seeker leaves the U.S. permanently.
- The green card seeker is subject to removal but successfully applies for adjustment of status based on a new affidavit of support.
- Either the green card seeker or the sponsor dies.
Need Help Filing Immigration Form I-864? The Law Offices of James A. Welcome Can Help
Preparing and filing Affidavits of Support and the required supporting documents is complicated. A single mistake can set the process back by months or years and even lead to a denial of the green card application.
Don’t take any chances — contact the experienced immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of James A. Welcome for assistance with immigration matters in Connecticut. You can reach us at 203-753-7300 or online to schedule a consultation.