Support Immigration Form I-864, also known as the Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, is a legal document required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain immigrants seeking permanent residency in the United States. This form establishes that the intending immigrant has adequate financial support and will not become a public charge. By signing Form I-864, the sponsor assumes the responsibility of financially supporting the immigrant if necessary.
This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable insights, step-by-step instructions, and answers to frequently asked questions about Form I-864. Whether you are a sponsor or an intending immigrant, this guide will help you understand the intricacies of this important document and navigate the immigration process smoothly and successfully.
What is Form I-864?
Form I-864 is a legal document that is required for certain immigrants seeking permanent residency in the United States. The form is used to demonstrate that the intending immigrant has adequate financial support and will not become a public charge. By signing Form I-864, the sponsor assumes the responsibility of financially supporting the immigrant if necessary.
Who Needs to Submit Form I-864?
Form I-864 must be submitted by the sponsor who is petitioning for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status on behalf of the intending immigrant. The sponsor is usually a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) and is responsible for financially supporting the immigrant.
Not all immigrants require a Form I-864. The requirement depends on the immigrant category and the relationship between the sponsor and the intending immigrant. For example, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not need a Form I-864. However, most family-sponsored immigrants and some employment-based immigrants do need a Form I-864.
Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsor
To be eligible to sponsor an immigrant and submit Form I-864, the sponsor must meet certain requirements set by the USCIS. Here are the key eligibility criteria for the sponsor:
- The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder).
- The sponsor must be at least 18 years old.
- The sponsor must have a domicile in the United States or be stationed abroad due to certain U.S. government employment.
- The sponsor’s income must meet the minimum income requirement, which varies depending on the household size and the sponsor’s location.
Meeting these eligibility criteria is crucial to ensure the sponsor’s ability to fulfill the financial obligations stated in Form I-864.
Completing Form I-864: Step-by-Step Guide
Filling out Form I-864 accurately is essential to avoid delays or potential issues in the immigration process. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you complete Form I-864:
- Download the form from the USCIS website.
- Gather the required information and supporting documents. This may include your financial records, tax returns, employment information, and details about the intending immigrant.
- Provide your personal information, including your full name, address, contact details, and Social Security Number.
- Indicate the number of people you are including in your household size.
- Calculate your household income, including your earnings, assets, and other sources of income.
- If your income alone does not meet the minimum income requirement, you can include your assets to supplement your financial resources.
- Provide detailed information about your assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, investments, and vehicles. Additionally, disclose any outstanding debts you may have.
- Provide the necessary information about the intending immigrant, including their full name, relationship to you, and their immigration status.
- Attach the required supporting documents to validate the information provided in Form I-864. These documents may include tax returns, W-2 forms, bank statements, employment letters, and other financial records.
- Thoroughly review the completed form for accuracy and completeness. Sign and date the form, certifying that the information provided is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.
Supporting Documents Required for Form I-864
To strengthen the credibility of Form I-864, certain supporting documents must be submitted along with the form. These documents help the USCIS evaluate the sponsor’s financial capacity and determine if the intended immigrant is likely to become a public charge. Here are some commonly required supporting documents:
- Recent tax returns (typically the last three years)
- W-2 forms or 1099s
- Pay stubs
- Bank statements
- Employment letters
- Proof of assets (property deeds, investment portfolios, etc.)
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency
- Proof of relationship between sponsor and intending immigrant
In addition to these commonly required documents, the USCIS may also request other supporting documents, such as:
- Letters from other sources of income (such as rental income or alimony)
- Proof of debt payments
- Proof of expenses (such as housing costs, medical expenses, and child care costs)
- If the sponsor is a joint sponsor, documentation for the co-sponsor
It is important to submit all of the required supporting documents with Form I-864. Failure to do so may delay the processing of your case or result in a denial.
Here are some tips for gathering supporting documents:
- Gather all of your documents well in advance of filing Form I-864. This will give you time to make sure that you have everything you need and that the documents are complete and accurate.
- Make copies of all of your documents. This will help you keep track of your paperwork and will also provide you with a backup in case your original documents are lost or damaged.
- Organize your documents in a logical way. This will make it easier for you to find the documents you need when you are filling out Form I-864.
- Label each document with the name of the document and the date it was created. This will help you keep track of your documents and will also make it easier for the USCIS to review your case.
- Sign and date each document. This will help to verify the authenticity of your documents.
- Have all documents notarized. This is not required, but it can help to add credibility to your case.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you have all of the necessary supporting documents for Form I-864 and that your case is processed smoothly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can I use assets instead of income on Form I-864?
Yes, assets can be used to supplement your income on Form I-864. However, the value of the assets must meet the required threshold and be readily available for the support of the intending immigrant. It is important to consult the USCIS guidelines and seek professional advice to ensure the eligibility of your assets.
- What is the purpose of the Affidavit of Support?
The Affidavit of Support, represented by Form I-864, is intended to demonstrate that the intending immigrant will not become a public charge and has sufficient financial support in the U.S. The sponsor assumes the responsibility of financially supporting the immigrant and repaying any means-tested public benefits received by the immigrant.
- Can someone else co-sponsor Form I-864?
Yes, a co-sponsor can be used if the sponsor does not meet the income requirements. The co-sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and meet the eligibility criteria outlined by the USCIS. The co-sponsor assumes joint financial responsibility for the intending immigrant.
- What happens if the sponsor fails to meet the financial obligations?
If the sponsor fails to meet the financial obligations stated in Form I-864 and the intending immigrant receives means-tested public benefits, the government agency providing the benefits may seek reimbursement from the sponsor. The sponsor’s obligation continues until the intending immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, has earned 40 quarters of work, dies, or permanently leaves the U.S.
- Can Form I-864 be revoked or terminated?
Form I-864 is legally binding and cannot be revoked or terminated unilaterally. However, there are certain circumstances where the obligations of the sponsor may end, such as the death of the sponsor or the termination of the intending immigrant’s lawful permanent residency before obtaining U.S. citizenship.
- Are there any exceptions to submitting Form I-864?
Yes, there are certain exceptions to submitting Form I-864, such as for self-petitioning widows or widowers, certain child immigrants, and certain battered spouses or children. It is important to consult the USCIS guidelines or seek legal advice to determine if you qualify for an exception.
Support Immigration Form I-864 is a crucial component of the U.S. immigration process, ensuring that intending immigrants have sufficient financial support and will not become a burden on public resources. By understanding the intricacies of Form I-864 and fulfilling the requirements, sponsors can navigate the immigration journey smoothly and responsibly.
Here at Pupilo Income Tax, we recognize the vital role this form plays in the immigration process. Conveniently located at 206 S Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10705, United States, we are dedicated to assisting you in comprehending the nuances of Form I-864. Our comprehensive guide offers step-by-step instructions, insightful advice, and answers to frequently asked questions.