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A Comprehensive Guide on Affidavit of Support

If you’re looking for help with your Affidavit of Support, look no further than Tadeo & Silva Law. We can help you with what you need to get started. Call us for more info.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Updated on: July 13, 2023.

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What Is an Affidavit of Support?

An affidavit of support is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirement for most family and employment-based green card applications. However, an affidavit of support (Form I-864) can be an extremely confusing and complex immigration form.

Simply put, Form I-864 is a contract agreeing to provide financial support to an intending immigrant. This legally enforceable document has to be signed by a U.S. citizen or someone with lawful permanent resident status. This person is called a sponsor and is usually the person who signed your immigrant visa petition.

An affidavit of support is necessary to prove that the individual applying to become a legal permanent resident (sponsored immigrant) won’t burden the system. The sponsor provides the necessary financial support for the foreign national immigrant. A sponsor must fulfill certain criteria in addition to signing a contract in order to be qualified to submit an affidavit of support. Let’s examine the prerequisites in more detail.

Requirements for Affidavit of Support

Your sponsor must prove they have the financial resources to support you during your stay. There is a minimum income requirement according to the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

You must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  • Have a household income equal to or above 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This percentage applies to all sponsors except those on active military duty.
  • Have a US domicile or a territory or possession of the United States.

 

Need Help Meeting the Minimum Income Requirements?

The relative who files the form is also known as the petitioning sponsor. You can get joint sponsors if you don’t meet the minimum annual income. The joint sponsor doesn’t have to be a household member. You and the joint sponsor must file the form, but you remain the petitioning sponsor.

Your second option includes using assets or combining your income with other household members to meet the requirements.

A joint sponsor is not to be confused with a household member. Note that a joint sponsor must meet the exact requirements as you. You cannot combine your income with a joint sponsor to meet the sponsor’s income requirements. The joint sponsor must meet the 125% requirement, the same as a substitute sponsor.

The minimum income requirements are modified for residents of Hawaii and Alaska. US armed forces members or those on active duty only need a household income equal to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Check if you meet the income requirement as a sponsor or joint sponsor before submitting Form I-864. Consider taking the help of an immigration lawyer to understand the eligibility criteria in greater detail. They can also assist you in ensuring that Georgia immigration laws are upheld throughout this process.

Who Should Submit the Affidavit of Support?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires the following individuals to submit Form I-864:

  1. The immediate relatives of all U.S. citizens. This category includes spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens.
  2. Qualifying relatives under one of the family-based preferences:
  • First Preference: Unmarried adult (21 years or older) sons or daughters of U.S. citizens.

  • Second Preference: Spouses, unmarried sons or daughters of permanent residents, and their unmarried children.

  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their unmarried minor children.

  • Fourth Preference: Siblings of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their unmarried minor children.

For employment-based preference immigrants, an affidavit of support must be submitted when a relative files the visa petition. It is also necessary when a family member holds a significant ownership interest (5% or greater) in the entity that filed the petition.

There are exceptions where individuals who fall under these categories do not have to submit the form. This exception can be granted to an intending immigrant who has:

  • Worked or can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters in the US.

  • Qualified for automatic citizenship as a child of a US citizen admitted on or after February 27, 2001, under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act as amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

  • An approved Form I-360 as self-petitioning widows or widowers and as battered spouses and children.

 

Is I-864 Required for I-485?

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is required for filing most family-based and some employment-based petitions, including I-485 Form, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjust Status. You will also need the form when you apply for the K-1 fiancé visa.

How to Fill Out an Affidavit of Support Form

As a sponsor, you must fill Form I-864 when the intending immigrant has a scheduled immigrant visa interview. It may also be submitted before the submission of the adjustment of status form with the USCIS or an immigration court. Form I-864 is an essential part of the adjustment of status checklist.

When you use the income from household members to qualify, each household member must individually fill out Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member. These family members must accept the legal responsibility of supporting the intending immigrant.

 

Supporting Documents to File a Form I-864

 

You will have to provide many supporting documents, including:

  • A copy of your federal income tax return for the most recent tax year. If you didn’t have to file a recent federal tax return, you need to provide evidence explaining why.
  • Other supporting documents include evidence of income or assets, Form 1099 or reported income statements, and any W-2s. Failure to provide federal income tax returns or proof of employment can delay or result in the denial of your relative’s immigrant visa.
  • Copies of birth certificates, passports, or Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship for U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals.

Follow the instructions if you are instructed to file the affidavit with the National Visa Center.

How Long Does an Affidavit of Support Last?

You will have financial responsibility for your sponsored relative until the immigrant becomes a citizen. It also ends when the immigrants have done 40 quarters of work (approximately ten years) under the Social Security Act. You can also stop supporting your relative financially when they leave the United States and no longer have lawful permanent residence.

You can also remove yourself as a financial sponsor, and another relative gets a substitute sponsor. In the event of death, your role as a sponsor also ends.

Note that divorce doesn’t end your sponsorship obligations.

 

Contact a Top Immigration Lawyer Today!

 

Getting your Form I-864 right the first time is essential to prevent delays and denial. Have your unmarried children or permanent resident relative filed an immigration form? An experienced immigration attorney can guide you through the specific instructions.

Our professional immigration lawyers at Tadeo & Silva Law can answer your questions. They can also help resolve queries on any other immigration-related issues, such as those surrounding family visas U.S. Book your consultation today to get in touch with our highly experienced and passionate attorneys!

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