What is an Affidavit of Support?
When an individual applies for an immigration visa to the United States, they must either prove they can be financially independent as to not put a strain on the government or find a sponsor who will become financially responsible for the immigrant. The Affidavit of Support is Form I-864 and must be completed by the sponsor and submitted to the National Visa Center for review.
How to Qualify as a Sponsor
You must meet the following criteria:
- U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
- Person who files the visa petition for the immigrant
- At least 18 years old
- Make an income at least 125% of Federal poverty level for your household
You may find a joint sponsor who would share the legal responsibility over the immigrant with you. Joint sponsors must follow all of the above listed criteria but does not need to be related to the immigrant. It is important to note that you and the joint sponsor must meet the income minimum requirements individually.
Who Needs to Submit an Affidavit of Support?
- Under family member immigration, immediate and qualifying relatives of U.S. Citizens need to submit an Affidavit of Support (I-864) and should specify the preference according to the relationship below:
- First preference: The unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of U.S. Citizens
- Second preference: Spouses or unmarried children of permanent residents
- Third preference: Married children of U.S. Citizens, their spouses and children
- Fourth preference: Siblings of U.S. Citizens, their spouses and children
- Employment based immigration applicants who had a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file the visa application petition
Who Does NOT Need to Submit an Affidavit of Support?
- Individuals who have already worked 40 qualifying quarters as specified by Title II in the Social Security Act
- Children of U.S. Citizens or permanent residents on or after February 27, 2001.
Supporting Evidence Required
- Statement from an official at bank or other financial institution with the following details:
- Account opening date
- Total amount deposited from the past year
- Current balance
- Statement from employer on business document with:
- Date and role details
- Wage and salary information
- Length of contract (temporary or permanent position)
- If self-employed:
- Copy of last filed tax return; or
- Report of commercial rating concern (business credit rating)
- List containing details of bonds and bond holders including serial numbers and denominations
Difference between I-134 and I-864
Most foreign nationals that petition through family member sponsorship require an Affidavit of Support form. However, there are two versions of the Affidavit of Support: Form I-134 and Form I-864. While both forms are to demonstrate the applicant entering the U.S. is a lawful person capable of financially supporting oneself, there a differences in the forms.
Form I-864 is a legally binding document that supports that the applicant will not become a public charge and can financially support oneself. I-864 is used by a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident who is sponsoring a family member’s green card. You can learn more about requirements of Form I-134.
Form I-134 is a non-legal binding document that serves the similar purpose as Form I-864. Unlike I-864, I-134 is used by non-immigrant visitor visas. Examples includes applicants entering the U.S. on tourist or student visa. (e.g., J-1 Visa) Applicant should pay attention to which form is required as filling out the wrong form can lead to petition rejection.