This form must be filed with a U.S. Citizen Petition for a Preference Relative to Become a Lawful Permanent Resident. The form must also be filed with a U.S. Citizen Petition for an Immediate Relative to Become a Lawful Permanent Resident

For both preference and immediate relative petitions, the applicant must file form I-130. They may also need to file Form I-485. Your immigration lawyer can help you file all the correct forms and fill out each form correctly.

According to the USCIS, the affidavit of support, I-864, is essentially a contract where the individual signer agrees to use their financial resources to help support the immigrant named in the petition who is seeking US immigration status. The signer of the I-864 becomes the immigrant’s sponsor once that immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident.

The law that governs the affidavit of support is the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Affidavit of support form can be viewed at https://www.uscis.gov/i-864

Who must file the affidavit of support?

The USCIS provides that Form I-864 must be filed by the following petitioners to obtain either an immigrant visa or an adjustment of status:

“All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (which include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21, including orphans) and relatives who qualify for immigration to the United States under one of the family-based preferences”

  • First preference. This category is for the unmarried adult’s daughters and sons of US citizens. An adult is anyone who is 21 years of age or older
  • Second preference. Spouses of permanent residents and unmarried children (regardless of age) of permanent residents – and their unmarried children.
  • Third preference. The married children of US citizens, their spouses, and their unmarried minor children
  • Fourth preference. The siblings (brothers and sisters) of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses, and their unmarried minor children
  • Employment-based preference immigration – but only in cases when “a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative filed the immigrant visa petition, or such relative has a significant ownership interest (5% or more) in the entity that filed the petition.”

What duties does the sponsor (who must file the affidavit of support) have?

Sponsors who sign the affidavit are legally responsible for supporting the immigrant they sponsor – until that person becomes a US citizen or has 40 work credit quarters. The obligation continues unless the immigrant dies or is no longer a lawful permanent resident (provided they depart the US). The duty to pay support does, however, continue even if there is a divorce.

The sponsor is responsible for repaying any means-tested public benefits the immigrant obtains – to the agency the provided the benefits. The agency or the immigrant can sue the sponsor if the sponsor doesn’t repay the debt.

Depending on the original income calculations, joint sponsors and household members may also be liable for the support of the immigrant.

Contact an experienced immigration lawyer to help ensure that you are filling out the I-864 Affidavit of Support correctly.

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