USCIS Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)

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USCIS Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)

One of the most effective ways to become a legal immigrant in the United States is to marry a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident. However, the process is very complicated and requires that you take into account every tiny detail. Your marriage must be legal. If you have decided to enter into marriage without intending to build sincere and real marital relationships, your further actions can be prosecuted. Only good intentions and honesty can help you to avoid penalties.

Although marriage is the most popular way of making your foreign loved one (who is not a U.S. resident) a legal immigrant, there are other cases when a U.S. resident or citizen will need their relative to obtain a green card. The process is accompanied by completing many papers, some of which can be very challenging to understand and, therefore, create.

The guide below is written to find out more information about the process and learn what documents are required. We will mainly dwell upon the Affidavit of Support and cases when you need to file the form. Besides, we will even provide tips on how to generate one. We will focus on every detail to prevent you from missing something out and failing to grasp the essence of the process in general and the document in particular.

What Purpose Does the Form I-864 Serve?

To be on the safe side and avoid unexpected expenditures, the U.S. government may require a citizen or national of the country to file a special form if they intend to bring a relative to the U.S. seeking permanent residence. This form is the “Affidavit of Support,” which is also referred to as Form I-864.

The document’s main purpose is to show the U.S. government that you ensure the full financial support of the immigrant not just for a few months but for several years. The person who completes the paper is called the “sponsor.” In most cases, the sponsor is the immigrant’s spouse or blood relative. However, sometimes someone who is not related to the immigrant can become a “joint sponsor” if the petitioner fails to satisfy the state’s requirements.

If some of the following things happen after you, as a sponsor, sign the document, you can be liberated from the financial responsibilities for your relative wishing to become a lawful permanent resident:

  • The relative applies for naturalization and gets an approving decision from the USIC.
  • The relative has worked for at least ten years in the United States (40 credits, or quarters). Keep in mind that a quarter counts only if the income is or exceeds 1410 USD.
  • The relative leaves the United States never to return to the country.
  • The relative or sponsor dies after the document comes into effect.

Who Needs to Submit the Document?

As we have mentioned earlier, a U.S. citizen or LPR has a limited choice if they decided to file a certain person’s immigration petition. They should make sure that the person falls into one of the following categories:

  • a spouse
  • a child (LPRs can petition only for unmarried sons or daughters)
  • a parent (for U.S. citizens only)
  • a sibling (for U.S. citizens only)

If some U.S. entity wants to bring a person for employment, there are several conditions they need to meet. The Affidavit of Support is filled out if a spouse, child, or a parent from the U.S. or any other blood-related relative completes petitions for an immigrant visa. Another scenario is also possible: a family member who wants to get a green card to work in the entity must have at least five percent of ownership interest.

However, there are cases when you do need to submit the form. One of the possible situations that can liberate you from completing the paper is that the person you need to support financially has worked at least 10 years and earned 40 credits in the United States. If you want to find out more about other exceptions, we encourage you to visit the official website of the USCIS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Download the instructions for this form and check out all the necessary information.

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Petitioning Procedure

Completing the Form I-864 is only a part of the long and complex process of obtaining a green card by a non-resident of the United States. In this guide, we will also help you get through the maze of this procedure and determine what documents, besides the form under discussion, you are to prepare.

  1. File the Petition – First and foremost, if you want to become a financial sponsor of a person seeking to obtain a PRC (or Permanent Residence Card), you need to complete the Form I-130, proving that you have real marital or blood-related relationships with your spouse or relative. You are welcome to submit the paper via the Internet or in a traditional paper format.
  2. Wait for the Approval – The next step in this process is possible only if the USCIS decides that your petition can be approved. The applicant will receive a letter informing them that their case has been created.
  3. Pay Fees – The step is meant only for the applicant. They must pay the required fees (there are two kinds of them: Affidavit of Support fee (which is 120 USD) and application fee (which is 325 USD). The system allows you to make payments online.
  4. Submit the Form I-864 and Financial Papers – Once all the fees are paid out, you, as the petitioner, can proceed to the next step – filing the Affidavit of Support form. Read the guide till the end to learn how to complete the document step-by-step. Remember that after you send the document, you need to prove your financial stability. Normally, the petitioner provides Form W-2, in which an employer presents annual taxes withheld from your paychecks at the end of the year.
  5. Complete an Application Form – The applicant usually takes this step. The application form is also referred to as Forn DS-260 and is mandatory to fill out. It is available online, so all you need to do is to visit the USCIS website. The form includes personal information and details about the applicant’s family.
  6. Gather and Submit Civil Documents – After the person applying for a visa has completed the previous step, they can submit their civil documents. The package includes birth certificates, court records, photocopies of passport page showing your birth date, place of birth, name, and photo, and other documents.
  7. Attend the Interview – The next step is to prepare for the interview and attend it on the appointed date. Bring all the necessary documents.
  8. Wait for the Decision –  After the interview is over, the consular officer will inform the applicant and the petitioner whether the visa is denied or refused.

You can see that the process is very time-consuming. So, it is necessary to avoid common mistakes, not to make it even more complex. We encourage you to read the section below to make at least one step of the tiresome procedure easier for you.

Steps to Create the Document

The official template provided by the USCIS is ten pages long. Therefore, some people may think that it is very challenging to complete it. Although the form seems rather complex, the instructions provided in it are quite clear. All you need to do is to read them carefully and follow them diligently. Our guidelines will help you save even more time and reduce the risk of questions arising. If you still have any doubts or questions, you should seek legal advice.

Besides, creating a template can become very easy if you make use of our advanced form-building software. The form must be completed only in black ink. It can be printed and filled out in handwriting.

1) Leave the First Sections Blank

At the beginning of the document, you are provided with several sections. You do not need to write anything in there as they are completed by official agents (a USICS agent and an attorney).

step 1 leave the first sections blank - filling out a uscis form i-864
2) Introduce Yourself

Start completing the affidavit of support form by writing your full legal name in the statement claiming that you are the sponsor who is ready to support the immigrant. Below the statement, choose your status: indicate whether you are the person who files the petition, a joint sponsor, or a family member either desiring to hire the relative or a five-percent owner in the entity who files it.

step 2 introduce yourself - filling out a uscis form i-864
3) Include the Immigrant’s Name

In Part 2, introduce the immigrant. Start with writing their full name, including the middle name.

step 3 include the immigrant's name - filling out a uscis form i-864
4) Add the Mailing Address

In Part 2, you are also required to add the full physical address of the principal immigrant. The address should include the street number and name, city, province, county, ZIP code, and postal code.

step 4 add the mailing address - filling out a uscis form i-864
5) Provide Additional Information 

Apart from the name and address of the person seeking a green card, the petitioner must insert the country from which the person comes from or their nationality. Do not forget to mention their date of birth and phone number. If the immigrant has an alien registration number, it should be included in the form as well. If the petitioner has submitted petitions earlier, they are welcome to provide their USCIS account number.

step 5 provide additional information - filling out a uscis form i-864
6) Add Info About Other Immigrants

Part 3 of the affidavit of support starts with several boxes, among which you need to choose the necessary one. Specify if you have provided financial support only for the person mentioned in the second part or for other family members coming to the United States with them. Fill out sections for each relative. Include their full names, dates of birth, and former registration number. Specify what types of relationship you have with this person (if it is your spouse, child). In one template, you can add five additional family members.

step 6 add info about other immigrants - filling out a uscis form i-864
7) Specify the Number of Immigrants

In Part 4, state the exact number of relatives you are going to support for years. Read the information about cases carefully when you do not need to include the principal immigrant.

step 7 specify the number of immigrants - filling out a uscis form i-864
8) Add Your Details

The next part is dedicated to you, as the petitioner. The basic requirements for this part are similar to those in Part 2. Enter your name, mailing address, and state if this address differs from your physical one. If it does, input your physical address as well.  Specify the date and place of birth and enter your SSN (Social Security Number). Select the appropriate box stating if you are a citizen, a national, or an LPR. Fill out the Military Service section.

step 8 add your details - filling out a uscis form i-864
9) Add the Numbers

In the next part, you need to count all the members who are to be included in your household and occupy the home on a full-time basis and write the numbers in the blank sections.

step 9 add the numbers - filling out a uscis form i-864
10) Provide Info About Your Employment Background and Earnings 

In Part 6, you are to enter information concerning your working experience (including self-employed activities). Check the suitable box and enter the most relevant data into the affidavit of support. Insert the income (in dollars) that you have got during the past year.

step 10.1 provide info about your employment background - filling out a uscis form i-864
If your family members you have included in the household receive income, indicate how much money they make within a year. Write the total amount in the blank section for the USICS to decide whether the income is insufficient or not.

step 10.2 provide info about your employment background and earnings - filling out a uscis form i-864
11) Provide Tax Details

State if you have submitted tax forms for the three recent tax years and enter the amount of money earned each year.

step 11 provide tax details - filling out a uscis form i-864
12) Add Info About Your Assets (If Necessary)

The part is completed only if your total income is considered to be insufficient. Here, you are to enter the value of all assets in possession (stocks and bonds).

step 12 add info about your assets - filling out a uscis form i-864
13) Select the Box

Indicate whether you have knowledge of the English language and have understood the form completely, have used an interpreter’s services, or have appointed another person to complete the form on your behalf.

step 13 select the box - filling out a uscis form i-864
14) Include Your Contact Data

You should enter your email address and contact phone number. Ensure your availability if some questions arise, and some information about your case is to be delivered.

step 14 include your contact data - filling out a uscis form i-864
15) Sign the Paper

Read all the paragraphs in the affidavit of support carefully. Make sure that you understand every detail of the document. Only after you have read and checked the information you can sign it. Place the date of signing.

step 15 sign the paper - filling out a uscis form i-864
16) Introduce the Interpreter

If an interpreter helped you complete the form, provide their full name, address, and interpreter’s certification. Let them place their signature.

step 16 introduce the interpreter - filling out a uscis form i-864
17) Introduce the Prepare

In case the form was filled out by an attorney or any other representative, add all the necessary details about them.

step 17 introduce the preparer - filling out a uscis form i-864
18) Insert Additional Info

If the space in the form was not enough, you are allowed to write additional details (for example, if the full name is too long to fit in one box) on the last page of the affidavit of support document.

step 18 insert additional info - filling out a uscis form i-864