Consular processing requires a financial support affidavit to prove that you will not become a public charge if admitted as a legal permanent resident.
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NVC reviews Affidavits of Support to verify to the extent possible that applicants have adequate financial support to prevent them becoming a public charge in the United States. A person who is a public charge is someone who is likely to be primarily dependent on the U.S. government for subsistence. Consular officers look factors affecting the financial situation of both the financial sponsor(s) and the applicant. Age, health, education, skills, financial resources and family status of the applicant and the sponsor are considered factors.
The financial sponsor/petitioner must complete and sign the appropriate Affidavit of Support form. It is necessary to submit all pages of the Form I-864 even if they are blank. Incomplete forms, including those missing pages, will not be accepted. The completed forms and supporting documents must be submitted in CEAC to NVC with the visa applicant’s civil documents. After the form is completed, upload, and submit the signed form to NVC via CEAC along with the sponsor’s supporting financial evidence.
If a form is not complete, NVC will send a notification in CEAC explaining what is wrong and asking you to correct and re-submit the form to NVC. When NVC accepts a corrected Form I-864, I-864EZ, I-864W or I-864A along with the supporting financial evidence, NVC transfers the form and application to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the applicant will apply for a visa.
Will the I-864 I submitted expire if my relative's interview is delayed for any reason?
No, the validity of the Form I-864, I-864 EZ, I-864W, or I-864A is considered indefinite beginning from the date the sponsor signs it.
What do family members need if they have separate visa petitions?
Each family member with a separate visa petition must submit a signed Form I-864 with supporting documents from the petitioner/sponsor and Form I-864As with supporting documents from the joint sponsor(s) if applicable.
Do family members following to join the principal applicant need separate Affidavits of Support and supporting documents?
Family members who immigrate later (follow-to-join) must resubmit a scanned copy of the principal applicant's I-864 and supporting documents.
Is one joint sponsor allowed to sponsor only some of the applicants while the other applicants are sponsored by another joint sponsor on the same petition?
Yes, but only under certain circumstances. Two joint sponsors can be used per family unit applying to immigrate under the same petition. If two joint sponsors are used, each joint sponsor is responsible only for the intending immigrant(s) listed on the joint sponsor’s Form I-864. Every joint sponsor must meet the minimum income requirement, citizenship, residence and age requirements.
If the sponsor dies after the principal applicant has immigrated to the United States but before other qualified family members have immigrated, can another sponsor be named?
Yes, if the petitioner or primary sponsor dies before all qualified family members have immigrated, a new sponsor may submit a Form I-864 to become the primary sponsor regardless of the status of the deceased petitioner's estate.
A financial sponsor, including a petitioner, must:
A lawful permanent resident (LPR) sponsor must maintain his or her LPR status to qualify as a financial sponsor.
Must the Petitioner be domiciled if there is a joint sponsor?
Yes, the Petitioner must have a domicile (see below) in the U.S. regardless of relying on a joint sponsor for income qualification. If a petitioner cannot satisfy the domicile requirement, the petitioner fails to qualify as a sponsor or joint sponsor for the purposes of submitting Form I-864. The petitioner must meet all the requirements to be a sponsor (age, domicile, and citizenship), except those related to income, before there can be a joint sponsor.
When do I provide evidence?
If not submitted to NVC along with the Affidavit of Support form, the petitioner will need to provide the visa applicant with evidence of his or her domicile. The visa applicant will need to bring that evidence to the visa interview for the consular officer to review.
What does domicile mean?
Domicile is the place where a sponsor has his or her principal “residence” with the intention to maintain that residence for the foreseeable future
Can I be domiciled in the U.S. while not currently living in the U.S.?
A sponsor who is not currently living in the United States may meet the domicile requirement if he or she can submit evidence to establish that any of the following conditions apply:
What kinds of employment abroad can be counted as U.S. domicile?
A U.S. citizen who is living abroad temporarily is considered to be domiciled in the U.S. if the citizen is employed by certain organizations, including:
How can a financial petitioner not yet domiciled in the U.S. establish a domicile?
To qualify as a sponsor, the Petitioner who has not yet taken up physical residence in the U.S. must demonstrate that he or she has taken concrete steps to establish a domicile in the U.S. and will do so concurrently with the applicant no later than the date of the intending immigrant’s admission. The sponsor does not have to precede the applicant to the U.S. but, if he or she does not do so, he or she must arrive in the U.S. concurrently with the applicant.
Evidence that the sponsor has established a domicile in the U.S. and is either physically residing there or intends to do so before or concurrently with the applicant may include the following:
When calculating their household size, sponsors must include:
A sponsor does not have to include people on other I-864s who have not yet immigrated to the United States.
What are Poverty Guidelines?
Petitioners must meet a minimum income level, called the Federal Poverty Guidelines, in order to financially sponsor a visa applicant. The Poverty Guidelines in effect on the filing date of an Affidavit of Support are used to determine whether the income requirement is met.
What happens if the petitioner doesn't have enough income?
Petitioners who cannot meet the minimum income level have two choices: 1) find a “joint sponsor” who will agree to also financially support the visa applicant, or 2) use the income of a household member to meet the Poverty Guidelines. These additional financial sponsors also have to submit an Affidavit of Support, proof of their income, and proof of their legal status in the United States.
Must the Petitioner Submit an Affidavit as well as the Joint Sponsor?
Yes, even if a petitioner finds a joint sponsor or uses the income of a household member to financially sponsor a visa applicant, that petitioner must still submit an Affidavit of Support.
If the poverty guidelines change between the time the petitioner signed the Affidavit of Support and the issuance of an immigrant visa, must the petitioner/sponsor and joint sponsor, if required, submit a new Form I-864?
No, the Form I-864 remains valid indefinitely unless evidence of failure to meet the poverty guidelines in effect on the date of I-864 filing arises. The consular officer will determine whether the income claimed by the sponsor and documented with financial evidence meets the poverty guidelines in effect at the time the I-864 was filed. If the income claimed does not meet the poverty guidelines, then the consular officer may request that the sponsor submit current year income information.
Can a credible offer of employment for the visa applicant replace or supplement an insufficient Affidavit of Support?
No, the law does not recognize offers of employment in place of the Form I-864. A job offer may show ability of the applicant to overcome ineligibility as a public charge, but does not meet any I-864 requirement.
How can a sponsor use assets to meet the minimum Federal Poverty Guidelines?
If a sponsor's income does not meet the minimum Federal Poverty Guidelines, he or she can submit the value of assets to make up the difference unless the sponsor is submitting a Form I-864EZ. When looking at income levels, the consular officer will look at the sponsor's employment income first. Personal assets and/or the income and assets of household members who have signed an I-864A are totaled next. If the sponsor is using assets to meet the minimum Federal Poverty Guidelines, they must upload a scanned copy of documentation of those assets into CEAC.
What cash value of assets is needed?
The total net value of assets, less liens and liabilities against them, must equal five times the difference between the sponsor's income and 125% of the poverty level for the household size. Sponsors of spouses and children of U.S. citizens must only prove assets valued at three times the difference between the poverty guidelines and actual household income. Sponsors of orphans who will acquire citizenship after admission to the United States must only prove assets equal to the difference between the poverty guidelines and actual household income.
What can be used as assets?
Financial sponsors can only include assets that are convertible into cash within one year and without considerable hardship or financial loss to the sponsor and his/her family. Examples of assets easily convertible to cash are savings, stocks, bonds and property. Sponsors may include the value of their home. They may not include the value of their automobile, unless they can show they have more than one and the primary automobile is not included as an asset.
Can the immigrant visa applicant count assets that he or she owns that are outside the United States, such as real estate or personal property?
Yes, under the following conditions:
The visa applicant needs to file a Form I-864A to have his or her assets included in the minimum income level calculations.
Can free housing be counted as income?
Yes, financial sponsors receiving housing and other benefits in place of salary may count those benefits as income. The sponsor may count both taxable and non-taxable income (such as housing allowance). The sponsor must prove the nature and amount of non-taxable income. Evidence of such income can be a Form W-2 (such as Box 13 for military allowances) or Form 1099.
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