Does a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support have to be notarized?
No, it doesn’t. Nevertheless, if your sponsor signs the affidavit, then they might be subject to criminal liability for any significant false statement that the affidavit contains, at least if they knew that the statement was false at the time they signed the affidavit.
What documentation does the sponsor need to prove their income?
In addition to Form I-864, a sponsor is required to submit an IRS-issued transcript form or photocopy of their most recent federal income tax return. The sponsor, in their discretion, may also submit copies of their federal income tax forms for the last three years. This might provide some context that could clarify the sponsor’s ability to meet their obligations. The officer might also ask for additional documentation, such as an employment offer letter.
If the sponsor owns a business, should they submit business income tax returns or individual income tax returns?
They should submit individual income tax returns since it is the individual, not the business, that will be sponsoring you.
Do following-to-join family members need separate I-864 Affidavits of Support?
Yes. If your family members (spouse or child) are authorized to come to the United States based on your immigration status, and if they choose to wait until after you have already arrived in the United States to enter the country themselves (known as “follow-to-join”), then each one will need:
- A separate Form I-864 Affidavit of Support with the original signature of the sponsor; and
- A complete set of I-864 of Support supporting documents.
What is the National Visa Center’s role in evaluating the I-864 Affidavit of Support?
If you are applying for an immigration visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad, it is the National Visa Center (NVC), rather than the USCIS, that will evaluate the Form I-864 Affidavit of the Support package for completeness.
If your immigrant visa application package is not complete, you will be asked to submit any missing items, and the processing of your immigrant visa is likely to be delayed. Once the NVC is satisfied that your application is complete, it will transfer your application package to the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying for an immigrant visa, for further processing.
How should I complete Form I-864?
Use the step-by-step instructions provided by the USCIS. Fill the form out using a computer, and type all answers in capital (upper case) letters. Submit all pages, even if some of them are blank. The same advice applies to Form I-864A.
What are the federal poverty guidelines?
The federal poverty guidelines are a standard that defines the official poverty level for the purpose of determining eligibility for immigrant visas and certain domestic federal programs. It is defined as a dollar amount that varies according to the number of household members. These guidelines are recalculated periodically.
If the federal poverty guidelines change between the time my sponsor signed the Form I-864 Affidavit of Support and the time that US immigration officials review my application, does my sponsor(s) have to file a new Form I-864 Affidavit of Support?
No, the Affidavit of Support I-864 remains valid despite a change in the poverty guidelines, as long as it was valid at the time it was filed. If a Form I-864 and supporting documents indicate that income and asset requirements were not met at the time it was filed, however, the reviewing officer can demand that your sponsor submit current year income information and evaluate your application based on modified poverty guidelines.
When determining my number of household members for the purpose of determining how much sponsorship I need to meet the immigration poverty guidelines, do US immigration officials count my children even if they live with my ex-spouse and my ex-spouse has sole custody of them?
Yes. Your children are counted as household members of both you and your ex-spouse’s households, assuming that both of you have a legal obligation to support them. The only way to get around this rule is to prove that you no longer have a legal obligation to support your children
Can I request that my children not be counted as my household member if they are claimed as dependents on my ex-spouse’s tax return, not mine?
No. Your children will be considered part of your household even if you provide them with no support at all, as long as you remain legally obligated to provide them with financial support.
If my sponsor dies after my immigration to the United States but before my other family members arrive, can another sponsor be used?
Yes. If the primary sponsor dies before all of your accompanying family members have arrived in the US, you can find another sponsor to submit a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support as the new primary sponsor.
Does my sponsor need to count assets if his income alone meets the poverty guidelines income requirement?
No, counting assets is usually not necessary as long as your sponsor’s income meets the poverty guidelines income requirement. Nevertheless, under certain circumstances, the examining officer may still demand evidence of assets and liabilities before issuing an immigrant visa.
What information needs to be included in an asset count?
The sponsor who owns the assets must prove the location, ownership, and value of each asset, including any liabilities attached to the asset such as a lien or a mortgage. The assets do not have to be located in the country of immigration. The sponsor must also present evidence of how long it would take to convert the asset to cash and made it available to you. These assets might not be counted if providing them to you would harm the sponsor or his household member.
How much do the assets have to be worth in cash?
With two very important exceptions, the cash value of the assets must equal 500 percent of the difference between the income standard (125 percent of the poverty guidelines) and the sponsor’s income. Any encumbrances against the asset, such as a mortgage, should be subtracted from the value of the asset.
If the sponsor’s income is $5,000 short, for example, then the cash value of his assets must be no less than $25,000 (500 percent of the difference), without taking into account the contribution of any joint sponsors. The cash value would need to equal only $15,000 (300 percent of the difference) if the sponsor is a US citizen sponsoring his spouse or adult child.