Affidavit of Support Breakdown: Completing Form I-864 with Confidence

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is a document that is required as part of the United States immigration process for certain categories of immigrants. It is used to demonstrate that a sponsoring U.S. citizen or permanent resident (also known as a “sponsor”) has the financial means to financially support the intending immigrant and ensure they will not become a public charge, meaning they will not rely on government assistance for their financial well-being.

The primary purpose of Form I-864 is to provide a legally binding commitment from the sponsor to support the intending immigrant financially and prevent the immigrant from becoming dependent on government benefits. This form is often required in family-based immigration cases, where a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is petitioning for a family member, such as a spouse, child, parent, or sibling, to come to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

Key points about Form I-864:

  • Sponsor’s Responsibility: By signing Form I-864, the sponsor agrees to financially support the intending immigrant at an income level that is at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. This commitment lasts until the sponsored immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, has worked for 40 qualifying quarters (usually about 10 years of work), dies, or leaves the U.S. permanently.
  • Household Size: The sponsor’s household size, which includes the sponsor, their dependents, and any immigrants they have previously sponsored using Form I-864, is used to determine the minimum required income to qualify as a sponsor.
  • Joint Sponsorship: If the sponsor’s income does not meet the required minimum, a joint sponsor who meets the income requirements can also sign Form I-864 to supplement the financial support.
  • Documentation: Sponsors are required to provide evidence of their income and financial ability to support the immigrant. This can include tax returns, pay stubs, employment verification letters, and other financial documents.
  • Public Charge: The Affidavit of Support is a key element in addressing the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, which is a consideration to determine if an immigrant is likely to become dependent on government assistance.
  • Penalties: The sponsor’s obligation is legally enforceable, and if the sponsored immigrant receives certain means-tested public benefits, the government may take legal action to recover the costs from the sponsor.

Form I-864 is a complex legal document, and it’s important to carefully review and complete it accurately. If you’re considering sponsoring an immigrant, consulting an immigration attorney or legal expert is recommended to ensure that you understand your responsibilities and obligations under this affidavit. Please note that immigration processes and forms may change over time, so it’s always a good idea to refer to the official USCIS website or consult with legal professionals for the most up-to-date information.

Affidavit of Support Checklist – Form I-864

Here’s a checklist of the key components and documents you might need when preparing Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Please note that requirements and circumstances can vary, so it’s important to consult the most current instructions provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and consider seeking legal advice if needed.

  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support:
    • Complete the most recent version of the form, available on the USCIS website.
  • Sponsor’s Information:
    • Personal details of the sponsor (petitioner) and any co-sponsor (if applicable), including full name, address, and contact information.
  • Intending Immigrant’s Information:
    • Information about the sponsored immigrant, including their name, Alien Registration Number (if applicable), and relationship to the sponsor.
  • Sponsor’s Household Size:
    • List all dependents living with the sponsor, including the sponsored immigrant, spouse, children, and anyone else claimed as a dependent on the sponsor’s tax returns.
  • Income Documentation:
    • Provide evidence of the sponsor’s income to meet the minimum income requirements. Acceptable documents may include:
      • Copies of the sponsor’s most recent federal income tax returns (including all attachments and schedules).
      • W-2 wage statements and/or 1099 forms for the most recent tax year.
      • Employment verification letter from the sponsor’s employer stating current job, salary, and length of employment.
    • Joint Sponsor (if applicable):
      • If the sponsor’s income does not meet the required threshold, a joint sponsor can provide their own Form I-864 and income documentation.
      • Joint sponsor’s personal details and income documentation should be included.
    • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residence:
      • Copy of the sponsor’s U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
    • Proof of Relationship:
      • Documents showing the relationship between the sponsor and the intending immigrant, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, or adoption records.
    • Proof of Assets (Optional but recommended):
      • If the sponsor’s income falls short of the required amount, they can supplement their income with assets (savings, properties, etc.). Provide documentation, such as bank statements, property deeds, or appraisals.
    • Form I-864A (Household Member):
      • If a household member’s income is being included to meet the income requirements, complete Form I-864A and provide supporting documentation.
    • IRS Tax Transcript:
      • Obtain an IRS tax transcript for the most recent tax year from the Internal Revenue Service or provide a copy of the tax return filed.
    • Translation and Documentation:
      • If any documents are not in English, include a certified translation.
      • Include copies of all required supporting documentation, such as tax returns and employment verification letters.
    • Signatures and Affidavit:
      • Sign and date the Form I-864 and any accompanying forms.
      • Ensure that the signatures are notarized, if required.
    • Filing Fee:
      • Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee and include the appropriate payment method with your application.
    • Check USCIS Instructions:
      • Review the USCIS website for any additional requirements or updates to the filing process.

Remember that Form I-864 is legally binding, and providing accurate and complete information is crucial to the immigration process. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the form or the supporting documents, consider seeking legal assistance or advice from immigration professionals.

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