An I-864 affidavit of support is a document that must be completed by all petitioners for family-based and some employment based sponsorship. In completing the I-864 affidavit of support, the petitioner’s or joint sponsor’s income must meet the above poverty guidelines to avoid a denial.
In the affidavit of support, an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. The person who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor of the relative (or other individual) coming to live in the United States. An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years).
If you filed an immigrant visa petition for your relative, you must be the sponsor. You must also be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. You must have a domicile in the United States or a territory or possession of the United States. Usually, this requirement means you must actually live in the United States, or a territory or possession, in order to be a sponsor. If you live abroad, you may still be eligible to be a sponsor if you can show that your residence abroad is temporary, and that you still have your domicile in the United States.
In some cases, the sponsor/petitioner does not have the income required by law and would have to get a joint sponsor to also complete an affidavit of support. A joint sponsor is someone who is willing to accept legal responsibility for supporting your family member with you. A joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements as you, except the joint sponsor does not need to be related to the immigrant. The joint sponsor (or the joint sponsor and his or her household) must reach the 125% income requirement alone. You cannot combine your income with that of a joint sponsor to meet the income requirement.
The following individuals are required by law to submit an I-864 Affidavit of Support, completed by the petitioner to obtain an immigrant visa or adjustment of status:
- All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (which include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21)
- Relatives who qualify for immigration to the United States under one of the family based preferences such as: unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (adult means 21 years of age or older); spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of permanent residents and their unmarried children; married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their unmarried minor children; and brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses and their unmarried minor children.
- Employment based preference immigrants in cases only when a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative filed the immigrant visa petition, or such relative has a significant ownership interest (5% or more) in the entity that filed the petition.
Failure of a sponsor/petitioner to submit an I-864 affidavit of support or to meet the income requirement would result in denial of visa issuance or denial of adjustment of status. If you change your address after you become a sponsor, you are required by law to notify the USCIS within 30 days by filing Form I-865, Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address. If you fail to notify the USCIS of your change of address, you may be fined.
For more information on I-864 Affidavit of Support,
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