What is Form I-864?
Form I-864, officially known as the “Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA,” is a legal document required by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for certain family-based immigration applications. The purpose of Form I-864 is to establish that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) sponsor has the financial means to support the intending immigrant and prevent them from becoming a public charge in the United States.
The Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is typically required in the following situations:
- Family-Based Immigration: When a U.S. citizen or green card holder is sponsoring a relative (such as a spouse, parent, or sibling) for a green card.
- Certain Employment-Based Immigrants: In some employment-based immigrant visa categories, a Form I-864 might be required as part of the overall application process.
Key points about Form I-864:
- Financial Responsibility: By signing Form I-864, the sponsor (also known as the “petitioner”) agrees to provide financial support to the intending immigrant (also known as the “beneficiary”) to ensure they do not become a public charge and rely on government assistance.
- Income Requirement: The sponsor’s income must generally be at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for their household size. The exact income requirement can vary based on factors such as household size and location.
- Joint Sponsors: If the sponsor’s income does not meet the minimum requirement, a joint sponsor (another individual who meets the income criteria) can submit a separate Form I-864 to supplement the financial support.
- Duration of Obligation: The sponsor’s obligation under Form I-864 typically continues until the beneficiary becomes a U.S. citizen, has worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain period, or has accumulated 40 qualifying quarters of work.
- Legal Consequences: If the sponsored immigrant receives certain forms of government assistance, the sponsor’s obligation to reimburse the government for those benefits may be triggered.
- Filing Fee: There is no separate filing fee for Form I-864 itself. However, the specific application that requires Form I-864 might have its own associated filing fee.
- Processing and Review: USCIS reviews Form I-864 as part of the overall immigration application process. The information provided in the form is subject to verification.
Form I-864 is a critical part of the immigration process, and it’s important to complete it accurately and provide truthful information. If you have any doubts or questions about Form I-864 or its requirements, it’s recommended to refer to the official USCIS website or seek advice from an immigration attorney.
How to fill out Form I-864?
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, is a complex form that requires accurate and complete information to demonstrate your financial ability to support an intending immigrant. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fill out Form I-864:
Step 1: Download the Form Visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website and download the latest version of Form I-864. Make sure you have the most recent version of the form to avoid any issues.
Step 2: Understand the Instructions Before you start filling out the form, read the instructions provided with the form carefully. The instructions will provide you with important information about who should complete the form, what information is required, and how to properly fill it out.
Step 3: Gather Necessary Information Collect all the required information and documents you will need to complete the form, including your financial and personal information, as well as information about the intending immigrant and your household members.
Step 4: Provide Sponsor Information This section asks for your personal information as the sponsor (petitioner). You’ll need to provide your full name, address, contact information, and other relevant details.
Step 5: Choose the Basis of Your Sponsorship Indicate the basis of your sponsorship, whether you are sponsoring a relative, a spouse, or another eligible immigrant.
Step 6: Provide Intending Immigrant Information Enter the information about the intending immigrant (beneficiary), including their full name, relationship to you, and their country of birth.
Step 7: Household Size List the number of people who live with you and who are financially dependent on you. This includes yourself, your spouse, children, and any other dependents.
Step 8: Income and Employment Provide information about your income, employment, and other sources of financial support. Include details about your current job, employer, and annual income. You may need to provide supporting documentation, such as recent tax returns, pay stubs, and employment verification letters.
Step 9: Assets If you have significant assets that can be used to support the intending immigrant, provide details about these assets. This can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other valuable assets.
Step 10: Use of Assets to Supplement Income If you plan to use assets to supplement your income to meet the financial requirement, complete this section with the relevant information about your assets.
Step 11: Sponsor’s Contract Review the sponsor’s contract and check the box indicating that you understand your obligations as the sponsor.
Step 12: Sign and Date the Form Sign and date the form in the appropriate sections. If you are using a joint sponsor, they will also need to sign and date the form.
Step 13: Gather Supporting Documentation Gather all the required supporting documentation, which may include tax returns, W-2 forms, pay stubs, employment verification letters, and proof of assets. Make copies of these documents to submit along with the form.
Step 14: Review and Organize Review the completed form and all the supporting documentation to ensure accuracy and completeness. Organize the documents in the order mentioned in the instructions.
Step 15: Submit the Form Include the completed Form I-864 and all supporting documents in your immigration application package. If you are submitting the form separately, follow the USCIS instructions for submission.
Remember that this is a general guide, and the specific requirements for Form I-864 can vary based on individual circumstances and changes in immigration policies. Always refer to the official USCIS instructions for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you have concerns or questions about completing Form I-864, consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney.