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.
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.
The person completing an I-864 Affidavit of Support is the sponsor. A sponsor’s obligation continues until the sponsored immigrant:
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.
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.
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.
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).
The following evidence of income must be submitted with the Affidavit of Support:
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).
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.
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.