Affidavit of Support for Visa and Immigration
Updated on 11/15/2023
An affidavit of support is a way for a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States to assume financial responsibility for foreign national who is immigrating or applying for a nonimmigrant visa. There are two forms that need to be used to do this, both obtainable from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The person who is assuming financial responsibility is called the sponsor. Also, the sponsor must be able to prove that they are financially able to do this. Let’s look at two forms used in the affidavit of support for a nonimmigrant visa and affidavit of support for immigration or called immigrant visa.
Form I-134 Declaration of Financial Support for Visa
Form I-134 Declaration of Financial Support is used for someone seeking entry on a non-immigrant visa. This includes a visitor visa (B visa) sought for the person to temporarily enter the United States for tourism or medical treatment. A B1 visa is used mostly for business purposes, while a B2 visa is used for tourism. Another type of non-immigrant visa that is commonly used is the K1 visa, which permits a foreigner to enter the United States to marry their U.S citizen fiancé. This is often called a fiancé visa.
The purpose of this affidavit for support is to sponsor a nonimmigrant visa applicant and show they will not become public charges while in the United States. Actually, form I-134 is mandatory for all K1 visa applicants while it is not required for other types of nonimmigrant visa applicants include B1/B2 if they can demonstrate they have sufficient funds to support their temporary stay in the United States.
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One thing you need to remember when filing form I-134 is that you need to sign the form using your full name. It is signed under penalty of perjury. Because of this, the form does not need to be signed by a notary or to have your signature certified by a notary.
Income and/or assets requirement under form I-134
The income and/or assets requirement under form I-134 is 100% of the poverty guidelines. These guidelines are published by the Department of Homeland Security and the USCIS. If using assets to meet sponsorship requirement, they must prove the net cash value of assets must equal five times the difference between the sponsor’s income and 100% of the poverty level for the household size.
Additional requirements for submitting form I-134
It is important to submit only copies of required documents unless told to submit originals. If the documents are in a foreign language, you must have them translated and accompany the translation with a certification by the translator that the translated document is accurate and complete.
Some examples of accompanying documents are:
- A signed statement from a bank officer that indicates when the account was opened, the balance amount in the account and the total amount deposited in the past year.
- A copy of the last federal income tax return filed, or federal return transcript which can be obtained from the website of IRS.
- A signed employment verification letter from the sponsor’s employer on their letterhead indicating the nature of the sponsor’s job and the date of their employment. The employer must also say whether the job is permanent or temporary.
Form I-864 Affidavit of Support for Immigration
This affidavit is a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. Government. It is used by the sponsor to show they have adequate means of financial support and to say they agree to support the immigrant to make sure they are not likely to become a public charge. The sponsor will use their own financial resources to support the sponsored individual once they become a legal permanent resident. This contract is enforceable legally. If the sponsored immigrant receives any public benefit during the sponsoring period, the U.S. government is entitled to sue the sponsor and get compensation for breach of contract.
Who must file an I-864 affidavit of support?
Generally, all family-based immigration applicants must file an I-864 affidavit of support. This includes the following individuals and all the spouses, parents and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens.
- An unmarried and 21 years old or older son or daughter of a U.S. citizen is the first preference. And their unmarried children under 21 years old.
- The second preference includes spouses of permanent residents and those unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents, and unmarried children under 21 years old of those sons and daughters.
- The third preference includes daughters and sons of married U.S. citizens. It also includes their spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years old.
- The fourth preference includes the brothers and sisters of a U.S. citizen and their spouses or unmarried children under 21 years old.
Some employment-based immigration applicants are also required to submit an I-864 in cases only when a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative filed the immigrant petition or such relative has five percent or more ownership interest in the entity that filed the immigrant petition.
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Some individuals are not required to submit an I-864
Some of the petitions noted above will not have to file an I-864 affidavit of support. This includes:
- They are those who can prove they have performed 40 quarters of work that qualify under the Social Security Act.
- They are the child of a United States citizen who was admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident after or on February 27, 2001. This individual would automatically be granted citizenship.
Income and/or assets requirement under form I-864
The sponsor’s income must be at least 125% of the HHS poverty guidelines. However, for sponsors who are on active military duty and are petitioning for their spouse and/or children, the income requirement is 100% of the poverty guidelines. The sponsor can use their assets to meet the sponsorship requirement if their income is not sufficient. It is sort of complicated to calculate the minimum required income and/or assets. You many learn the calculation methods in detail in our article Income or Asset Requirements for I-864 Affidavit of Support.
How long do sponsorship responsibilities last?
The sponsor is obligated to support the sponsored immigrant until they have amassed 40 quarters of work, or become a citizen of the United States, or either of them deceases, or the immigrant abandons their permanent residency. Divorce does not end the sponsorship obligation the sponsor has. Nor does it matter whether the immigrant received public benefits. In fact, the sponsor is obligated to pay back the benefits, and if they renege, the federal agency can sue them.
Household members or joint sponsors who signed their separate form I-864A or I-864 are also required to sponsor the individual. Not only are they jointly responsible but they can be held obligated for the full amount and taken to court if they do not uphold their contract. This holds even if the primary sponsor who petitioned is not sued for the support.
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