Affidavit of Support Form I-864
The I-864 Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) is a legally enforceable contract between the sponsor of an immigrant and the US Government that ensures that immigrant’s financial support in the United States.
What Is an Affidavit of Support?
The Affidavit of Support benefits a sponsored immigrant and any Federal, State, or local government agency or private entity that provides her with certain public benefits (i.e., means-tested benefits, including food stamps, supplemental social security income (SSI), non-emergency Medicaid and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Aid for Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Even if an I-864 sponsor has received means-tested benefits as part of his/her income for the last 3 years, this will not automatically disqualify him/her as a sponsor. If the sponsor has received means-tested benefits in the last 3 years, however, the value of the means-tested public benefit cannot be considered as income for the sponsor on the Affidavit of Support.
By executing a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, a sponsor agrees to provide the financial support necessary to maintain the sponsored immigrant at an income of at least 125% of the federal poverty line until the sponsor’s obligation terminates. To qualify as an I-864 sponsor for an immigrant applicant, a sponsor must document sufficient income from other non-means-tested benefits.
Duration of Form I-864 Affidavit of Support Sponsor’s Obligation
The person completing an I-864 Affidavit of Support is the sponsor. A sponsor’s obligation continues until the sponsored immigrant:
- becomes a US citizen;
- can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work (10 years);
- departs the US permanently;
- becomes subject to removal from the US, but applies for and obtains in removal proceedings a new grant of adjustment of status, based on a new Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, if one is required; or,
Divorce does not terminate an I-864 Affidavit of Support obligation. By executing the Affidavit of Support, a sponsor agrees to support the intending immigrant and any spouse and/or children immigrating with him/her, and to reimburse any government agency or private entity that provides these sponsored immigrants with certain federal, state, or local public benefits.
When is an I-864 Affidavit of Support Necessary?
All immediate relatives (including orphans), family-based immigrants, and relative-sponsored employment-based immigrants (where a relative filed the immigrant visa petition or has at least a 5% ownership interest in the for-profit entity that filed the petition), and including the spouse and children who are also immigrating. The term “relative” includes husband, wife, father, mother, child, adult son or daughter, brother or sister.
Who Signs the I-864 Affidavit of Support?
The family member who filed the petition for the intending immigrant, or who holds 5% or more ownership interest in the petitioning entity must serve as the I-864 sponsor and must sign the Affidavit of Support. If the petitioner/sponsor cannot meet the income requirements, a joint sponsor may submit an additional I-864 Affidavit of Support.
Affidavit of Support Sponsor’s Income Requirement
The sponsor’s household income must equal or exceed 125% of the Federal poverty line for the sponsor’s household size. For the purpose of the affidavit of support, household size includes the following persons: the sponsor; all persons related to the sponsor by birth, marriage or adoption living in the sponsor’s residence; any dependents claimed on the sponsor’s federal tax return; any immigrants that the sponsor has previously sponsored using Form I-864 if that obligation has not terminated; and the intending immigrant(s).
Evidence of Income for Purposes of I-864 Affidavit of Support
The following evidence of income must be submitted with the Affidavit of Support:
- A copy of the sponsor’s complete federal income tax return, as filed with the Internal Revenue Service, for each of the most recent 3 tax years (one year’s tax return is required; but we recommend 3). If the sponsor did not, or was not required, to file a tax return in any of the most recent 3 tax years, a written explanation must be provided.
- If the sponsor will rely on income of any members of his/her household or dependents to reach minimum income requirements, copies of that person’s Federal income tax returns for the most recent 3 tax years must be submitted with the Affidavit of Support. Also, these persons must each complete and sign Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member.
- Evidence of current employment or self-employment, such as a recent pay statement, or a statement from the sponsor’s employer on business stationery, showing beginning date of employment, type of work performed and salary or wages paid. The sponsor must also provide evidence of current employment for any person whose income is used to qualify.
Requirement to Notify USCIS of Change of I-864 Affidavit of Support Sponsor’s Address
An I-864 Affidavit of Support sponsor must report every change of his or her address to USCIS and the State(s) in which the sponsored immigrant(s) reside(s). The sponsor must report changes of address to USCIS on Form I-865, Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address, within 30 days of any change of address. Filing Form I-865 with USCIS will also serve as notice to the state(s).
Penalties Related to I-864 Affidavit of Support
If the sponsor includes in an Affidavit of Support any material information that s/he knows to be false, the sponsor may be subject to criminal prosecution under US law. If the I-864 sponsor fails to give notice of her/her change of address, the sponsor may be liable for civil penalties.
Affidavit of Support Form I-864A Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member
Where the sponsor’s income or assets are insufficient to meet the income requirements, the income of a person related to the sponsor by birth, marriage or adoption who has lived in the sponsor’s household for 6 months, or the income of a dependent otherwise listed on the sponsor’s tax return, may be added to the sponsor’s income. In this circumstance, the household member or dependent must execute Form I-864A, which then becomes a contractual obligation of the household member or dependent. If the household member or dependent does not carry out this obligation, the contract can be enforced by either the sponsor or the immigrant.