What is an Affidavit of Support?
An Affidavit of Support is a legally binding document that is often required in immigration processes to demonstrate that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) is willing and able to financially support a family member who is seeking to immigrate to the United States. This document is typically used in family-based immigration cases, such as when a U.S. citizen or green card holder is sponsoring their spouse, parents, or other immediate relatives for a green card.
The purpose of the Affidavit of Support is to ensure that the sponsored immigrant does not become a public charge and is financially supported by their sponsoring family member, rather than relying on government assistance programs. By signing this document, the sponsor agrees to financially support the sponsored immigrant and provide them with the necessary means to avoid becoming dependent on government benefits.
The primary form associated with the Affidavit of Support is Form I-864, officially known as the “Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA.” This form requires the sponsoring individual to provide information about their income, household size, and financial assets. The sponsor’s income must meet or exceed the minimum income requirements established by the U.S. government, which ensures that they are financially capable of supporting the immigrant without the need for public assistance.
The Affidavit of Support is a legally binding contract, and the sponsor’s financial responsibility lasts until the sponsored immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, works for 40 qualifying quarters (about 10 years), dies, or leaves the U.S. permanently. If the sponsored immigrant receives certain means-tested public benefits, the sponsor may be held financially responsible for reimbursing the government for those benefits.
It’s important to note that the Affidavit of Support is just one part of the overall immigration process and is used to demonstrate the financial ability and commitment of the sponsor to support the immigrant. It is crucial to carefully complete and submit this form along with the required supporting documents to ensure a smooth immigration process for the sponsored individual.
Form I-864 checklist of documents
Here’s Form I-864 checklist of documents and information you might need when completing the Affidavit of Support:
- Personal Information:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Social Security Number (if applicable)
- Mailing address
- The name of the sponsored immigrant(s) for whom you’re providing support
- Relationship to the sponsored immigrant(s)
- List all dependents in your household, including yourself, spouse, children, and anyone else you claim as a dependent on your tax return
Income and Employment Documentation:
- Recent federal tax returns (typically the most recent three years)
- W-2 forms and 1099 forms from the last three years
- Pay stubs or proof of employment for the current year
- Proof of any additional income sources (e.g., rental income, dividends)
Proof of Assets:
- Documents showing ownership and value of assets (bank statements, property deeds, etc.)
Federal Tax Information:
- Copies of your most recent federal income tax returns (Form 1040) and any supporting schedules
- Any IRS notices or transcripts related to your tax returns
Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Residency:
- Copy of your U.S. passport, birth certificate, or green card
Proof of Relationship:
- Marriage certificate (if sponsoring a spouse)
- Birth certificates (if sponsoring children)
Divorce or Death Certificates (if applicable):
- Divorce decrees for any prior marriages
- Death certificates for deceased spouses
Social Security Earnings Statement:
- An official record of your Social Security earnings history (Form SSA-7050)
Any Relevant Court Orders (if applicable):
- Such as child support orders or alimony orders
Interpreter’s Certification (if applicable):
- If the form is completed in a language other than English, it needs to be translated, and the translator needs to provide a certification
Remember that the specific documents required might vary based on your individual circumstances and the most up-to-date instructions from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It’s recommended to visit the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure you have the correct and complete documentation for your Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) submission.
How to fill out Form I-864?
Filling out Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is an important step in the immigration process for sponsoring a family member for a green card. Here’s a general guide on how to fill out Form I-864:
- Download the Form: Download the latest version of Form I-864 from the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
- Gather Required Documents: Before you start filling out the form, gather all the required documents and information, including tax returns, income documentation, proof of assets, and personal identification.
- Sections of the Form:
Part 1: Information About You (the Sponsor):
- Fill in your full name, address, contact information, and other personal details.
Part 2: Information About the Immigrant You Are Sponsoring:
- Provide the immigrant’s name, relationship to you, and other relevant information.
Part 3: Household Size:
- List all members of your household, including yourself, your spouse, children, and any other dependents.
Part 4: Poverty Guidelines:
- Check the poverty guidelines for your household size to determine the income requirement you need to meet.
Part 5: Sponsor’s Income and Employment:
- Provide information about your income, including the most recent tax returns, W-2 forms, and pay stubs.
- List additional sources of income, if any.
Part 6: Sponsor’s Assets:
- If your income does not meet the requirement, you can use your assets to supplement your income.
- List the value of your assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, and investments.
Part 7: Sponsor’s Contract:
- Sign and date this section to confirm your agreement to provide financial support to the sponsored immigrant.
Part 8: Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature:
- If the form was completed with the help of an interpreter, provide the interpreter’s information and have them sign.
Review and Submit:
- Carefully review the entire form to ensure accuracy.
- Make sure you have attached all required documents and evidence, including tax returns, income verification, and proof of assets.
Sign and Date:
- Sign and date the form in the designated areas.
Filing the Form:
- Keep a copy of the completed form and all supporting documents for your records.
- Follow the USCIS instructions for submitting the form, including the correct filing address.
Pay the Required Fee:
- Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee and payment instructions.
- Include the appropriate payment method with your submission.
Wait for USCIS Processing:
- After submitting the form, USCIS will process your application and may request additional documentation if needed.
Please note that this is a general guide, and the specific requirements and instructions may vary based on your individual circumstances and the most up-to-date information provided by USCIS. It’s recommended to carefully review the official instructions on the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney to ensure accurate completion and submission of Form I-864.