I-864 – Eligibility Criteria of Sponsors & Applicants I-864 Form

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The employment-based immigrants and family-based immigrants use the Form I-864 to establish the fact that the applicants have sufficient financial support. This is necessary as it would mean that the immigrants would be capable of supporting themselves financially through employment, family members or assets and would not require the assistance of the Government.

The Form I-864 acts as a contract between the sponsor and U.S. government. Once the form is completed and signed by the petitioner, he or she becomes the sponsor. Then, the sponsors need to show that they have adequate assets or income to sustain the intending immigrant(s) and the rest of the household at 125% over the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Signing the Form I-864 implies that if required, the sponsor agrees to use his resources in order to support the intending immigrant.

Related Article: Information for Filing Form I-864

Eligibility Criteria to File Form I-864

Eligible immigrants can file Form I-864 through a petitioner if:

  • The intended immigrant is an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen – spouse and/or children below the age of 21 and unmarried and parents of U.S. citizens who are older than 21 years.
  • Relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the preference categories –  brother, sister and children (married or otherwise) above the age of 21 of U.S. citizens and spouse and children of permanent residents where children are unmarried and below the age of 21.
  • The employment-based preference immigrants are considered to be eligible only when the petition is filed by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident family member.

Eligibility Criteria for the Sponsor I-864

Here are the eligibility criteria for the sponsor:

  • The sponsor needs to be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident and should be at least 18 years of age.
  • He or she should have already filed a Form I-130 for a family member or Form I-600 or I-600A for an orphan or a Form I-129F for a fiancé or fiancée.
  • When filing for an employment-based immigrant petition for son, daughter, spouse, parent, sister or brother; either the sponsor must be related or should have ownership interest of 5% or more in the business in which he/she has filed the petition for the employment-based immigrant visa.
  • The sponsor should have established himself/herself and should be physically residing either in the U.S. or in its territories or possessions.
  • The sponsor must be capable of supporting the intending immigrant till he or she becomes a U.S. citizen or is credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work which in USA is equal to 10 years of work.
  • The sponsor must show that his/her income is 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. In case the sponsor is sponsoring minor child or spouse and is an active member in the United States Armed Forces, then an income of 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines is what he/she needs to show.
  • Within one year from the date of signature, the Form I-864 needs to be submitted with the supporting documents in order to make the form valid.
  • Those sponsors who cannot meet the 125% guideline income requirement may seek a Joint Sponsor. Joint Sponsors are those people who are able to meet the requirements to sponsor one or more of the sponsor’s relatives. They need to be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or permanent residents above the age of 18.

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