Questions about the Affidavit of Support in Immigration Cases Part 2 of 2

How do I file an Affidavit of Support?

A: You need to complete Form I-864 when your relative has been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview with a consular officer overseas or when your relative is about to submit an application for adjustment to permanent resident status with USCIS or with an Immigration Court in the U.S.

If you have a joint sponsor, they must also complete an I-864. If you are using the income of other household members to qualify then each household member who is accepting legal responsibility for supporting your relative must complete a separate Form I-864A, A , Contract between Sponsor and Househoold Member.

You are also required to provide your U.S. Federal Income tax return for the most recent tax year as well as proof of current employment. If you were not required to file a tax return in any of these years you must provide a written explanation. Failure to provide the tax return or evidence that you were not required to file will delay your relative’s application. If the information is not provided the result will be a denial of an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. It is critically important to provide this information.

 

When you have completed the affidavit of support, compiled the necessary paperwork, and had the affidavit notarized in the U.S. or before a U.S. immigration officer or consular, you should provide this packet to of information to you relative to submit with his or her application for permanent resident status. However, if you were given specific instructions to file your affidavit of support directly with the National Visa Center , you should follow those instructions.

What are the income requirements?

You must also meet certain minimum income requirements if you are a sponsor. You must show that your household income is equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size. (your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring.

However, if you, the sponsor, are on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, and the immigrant you are sponsoring is your spouse or child, your income only needs to equal 100% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size.

What if I can not meet the Minimum Income Requirements?

If you cannot meet the minimum income requirements using your earned income you have various options. :

  • you can add the cash value of assets. This includes money in savings, accounts, stocks, bonds, and property. To determine the amount of assets required to qualify , subtract your household income from th eminimum income requirement. You must prove your cash value of the assets is five times the this difference (shortfall).
    • EXCEPT: if th eperson being sponsored is a spouse, or son/daughter (who is 18 years or older) of a US citizen. The minimum cash value only has to be 3 times the the differenc ebetween the sponsor’s household income and 125% of the federal poverty guideline for the household.
    • If the person being sponsored is an orphan coming to the United States for adoption. The adoptive parents assets need to equal or exceed the difference between the household income and 125% of the federal poverty guideline for the household size.

Can I count the income and assets of members of my household if they are related to me ?

A: You can use their income if they are listed as dependents on your most recent federal tax return or they must have lived with you the last 6 months. They must also complete an I-864A, Contract Between a Sponsor and Household Member. If the relative you are sponsoring meets these criteria you may include the value of their income and assets, but the immigrant does not need to complete an I864A unless she has accompanying family memebers. You may also count the assets of the relatives you are sponsoring.

  • Responsibilities of a Sponsor
    • When you sign an affidavit of Support, you accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant or immigrants generally until they become U.S. citizens or can be credited with 40 quarters of work. Your obligation also ends if the person you sponsor dies or if they cease to be a permanent resident and depart the U.S.
    • Divorce does NOT end the sponsorship obligation.
    • if the person you are responsible ends up receiving any “means tested public benefits” you are responsible for repaying the cost of the benefits to the agency that provided them. If you do not repay the debt, the agency can sue you in court to get the money owed. Any joint sponsors or household members whose income was used are also legally responsible.

Change of Address

If you change your address after you become a sponsor you must notify the USCIS within 30 days by filing Form I-865. If you fail to notify the USCIS of your change of address, you may be fined.