Affidavit of Support: Form I-864 Explained

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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: July 24, 2023.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

What Is an Affidavit of Support?

 

Under Section 212 (a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you are inadmissible to apply for a nonimmigrant visa if you are likely to become a public charge. A public charge is someone who primarily relies on government assistance for their basic needs.

If you are applying for certain family or employment-based visas, you must show adequate means of financial support. An affidavit of support (Form I-864) is a legally enforceable document signed by an individual who accepts to financially support your coming to live in the U.S.

The person who files the immigrant visa petition on your behalf is the petitioner or sponsor. Their financial responsibility will remain until you (the intending immigrant) become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or are credited with forty-quarters of work. Forty quarters is about ten years.

Affidavit of Support Eligibility

 

Those required by law to submit a completed Form I-864 fall under the following three categories. They may qualify as an employment-based preference immigrant (a U.S. citizen or LPR filed your immigrant visa petition or a family member with a significant ownership interest in the petitioning entity). They could be immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen (e.g., spouse, unmarried child under 21, or parent). They may qualify to come to the U.S. on one of the family-based preferences, which are as follows:

  1. First preference (F1): The unmarried adult son and daughter of a U.S. citizen
  2. Second preference (F2A and F2B): The spouse and minor children, unmarried adult son or daughter of an LPR
  3. Third preference (F3): The married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen (regardless of their age)
  4. Fourth preference (F4): The brother and sister of an adult U.S. citizen

Filing an Affidavit of Support

 

Form I-864 is available online on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. If you are the sponsor, you must complete and sign this form correctly.

Signing the form shows your acceptance to sponsor the intending immigrant. You must attach all evidence and supporting documents with Form I-864 when filing.

If your finances are insufficient to meet the requirements at the time, you may file with a joint sponsor. The joint sponsor does not have to be one of your family members. But they must complete the same Form I-864 requirements as you.

The USCIS may request that you appear for an interview or biometrics appointment. They may conduct background and criminal history checks before making their decision.

Without knowledge of immigration procedures, filing Form I-864 is challenging. Therefore, hiring a top-rated immigration attorney in Atlanta would be highly beneficial.

Affidavit of Support Sponsor Requirements

 

Sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces are required to meet a minimum of 100 percent of the federal poverty guideline. Otherwise, to qualify as a sponsor of an affidavit of support, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be eighteen years and above
  • Be a U.S. citizen or LPR with a domicile in the U.S.
  • Have the minimum income requirement (125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines)

Filing Form I-864 makes the applicant ineligible for certain federal or state means-tested public benefits. That includes food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (S.S.I.), and Medicaid.

If the applicant receives these benefits, the issuing agency may request that you repay the cost of those benefits. In some cases, they may bring a lawsuit against you for failing to repay. If you change address during the process, you must inform the USCIS within 30 days.

What If You Do Not Meet the Income Requirements?

 

You must meet the income requirements for your household size to be eligible to file Form I-485 or get an immigrant visa. The USCIS permits sponsors to meet the minimum annual income requirement by combining the following:

  • Income from dependents or relatives living in your household

  • Income from the intending immigrant living if they live in your current residence

  • The value of your assets or assets of any household member who signed Form I-864A

  • A joint sponsor with an income or assets equivalent to 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

If the immigrant is your spouse, their income can be counted regardless of current residence.

Affidavit of Support Fee

 

There is no filing fee for filing Form I-864 with the USCIS. After the USCIS receives all the information and a priority date becomes current, they will send it to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will process the documents to determine the sponsored immigrant’s eligibility.

The immigrant may then be required to pay the NVC processing fee for the Affidavit of Support, which is $120. The NVC will send a case number and invoice I.D. number, which they can use to make payment.

Documents Needed for Affidavit of Support

 

During the Form I-864 filing process, there are many types of supporting documentation that you may need to submit. Depending on your circumstances, you may need the following documents:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or LPR, such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or permanent residence card

  • A copy of your most recent federal income tax return

  • A letter showing that your earnings are below the income for tax purposes (if applicable)

  • A document showing that you are exempt from filing tax returns (if applicable)

  • Proof of military status (for sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces)

  • Documentation of assets establishing ownership, location, date of acquisition, and value

  • A copy of Form I-864A (If using the income of individuals in your household)

  • A copy of Schedule C, D, E, or F from your most current federal income tax return (if self-employed)

  • Proof of an appointment as legal guardian of your estate (if the sponsor is a legal guardian)

Get Help From an Immigration Lawyer at Manji Law P.C.

 

Before signing an Affidavit of Support, you should understand the legal implications of your action. So, consulting one of the top-rated immigration attorneys in Atlanta is essential.

Our lawyers know immigration law. They have helped several clients with an adjustment of status through marriage, as well as with other immigration issues. We can help you understand your obligations as a sponsor or an intending immigrant. For example, some are unaware that a sponsored immigrant can sue a sponsor who fails to provide adequate support.

If the court enters judgment against them, the immigrant may use legal procedures to enforce the judgment. At Manji Law, P.C., we have experience standing before a judge and can represent our clients in court. We know how to fight for our clients and defend their rights should a court judgment be entered against them.

For help filing an affidavit of support or a guide for the immigration office in Atlanta., contact us today.