Affidavit Of Support Explained (Form I-864)

If you want to apply for permanent residence (Green Card) in the U.S., you need to assure the USCIS that you have adequate financial support and that you aren’t going to become a public charge. To do this, the person who is sponsoring a Green Card for you has to file USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, along with your immigration application. He or she is referred to as your petitioning sponsor.

The Affidavit of Support is a contract between the US government and the individual who has taken the responsibility to use their financial resources to support the beneficiary named in the affidavit. 

By signing the affidavit, your petitioning sponsor promises to financially support you in case you aren’t able to support yourself. This is to ensure that you do not become a public charge. The sponsor has to undertake this responsibility until you become a U.S. citizen or have worked for about 10 years (40 quarters). The affidavit is a legally enforceable contract.

Who should submit an Affidavit of Support?  

If your petitioning sponsor is a U.S. citizen, he or she has to submit an affidavit of support on your behalf if you belong to one of the following categories: 

  • You are the sponsor’s parent, spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21.
  • You are the sponsor’s unmarried child, age 21 years or older.
  • You are the sponsor’s married son or daughter.  Your spouse and your unmarried minor children may be included. 
  • You are the sponsor’s brother or sister and the sponsor is above 21 years of age. Your spouse and unmarried minor children may be included. 

If your petitioning sponsor is a permanent resident (Green Card holder), he or she has to submit the affidavit of support if you are his or her spouse. Your unmarried children may be included. 

What are the requirements for a petitioning sponsor?

In order to sponsor you, the petitioning sponsor should: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder living in the U.S., a territory or possession of the United States
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have an annual income that is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

What are the income requirements for an affidavit of support?

Your petitioning sponsor must show that he or she has an annual income that is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines levels for a family of a specific size. For people living in Alaska or Hawaii, it is at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

You can refer to the chart below, published by the USCIS for more details:

For the 48 Contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:

Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or childFor all other sponsors
2$17,240$21,550
3$21,720$27,150
4$26,200$32,750
5$30,680$38,350
6$35,160$43,950
7$39,640$49,550
8$44,120$55,150
Add $4,480 for each additional personAdd $5,600 for each additional person

For Alaska:

Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or childFor all other sponsors
2$21,550$26,937
3$27,150$33,937
4$32,750$40,937
5$38,350$47,937
6$43,950$54,937
7$49,550$61,937
8$55,150$68,937
Add $5,600 for each additional personAdd $7,000 for each additional person

For Hawaii:

Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or childFor all other sponsors
2$19,830$24,787
3$24,980$31,225
4$30,130$37,662
5$35,280$44,100
6$40,430$50,537
7$45,580$56,975
8$50,730$63,412
Add $5,150 for each additional personAdd $6,437 for each additional person

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/02/2020

What sources of income should the sponsor include?

Your petitioning sponsor’s income is what they have reported in their most recent Federal tax returns. The annual income may include income from their salary, wages, legal sources, alimony, child support, retirement benefits, dividends, interests earned and other legal sources. 

What if my petitioning sponsor isn’t able to meet the income requirements?

The sponsor needs to meet at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. In case their annual income does not meet this threshold, they can use other means to meet the minimum requirements. 

  • If the sponsor has assets, which could be cash, property, stocks, bonds, etc., the value of these can be added to the annual income amount. The sponsor can also use the assets of their household members as long as they are related to each other by birth, marriage, or adoption.
  • If the sponsor is not able to meet the minimum income requirements with their own income and assets, then other adult members of the household can help by combining their income with that of the sponsor. If your sponsor’s household members are willing to support you, each person doing so will have to submit a separate Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member. 
  • A non-member of the family, who need not be related to you or the sponsor, can be the joint sponsor if they are willing to accept responsibility for supporting you financially. The joint sponsor can be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or a US national, 18 years or older and living in the U.S. A joint sponsor should be willing to be held liable along with the sponsor for supporting you. There can be up to two joint sponsors. The joint sponsor has to file a separate Form I-864 and meet the annual income requirement, which is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • Your own income can be used to meet the income requirements, as long as your income source remains the same even after you get your Green Card. Your assets can also be used as long as you meet certain requirements.  

For how long is the I-864, Affidavit of Support valid?

Your sponsor is legally bound by the Affidavit of Support until one of the following happens:

  • The death of the sponsor or the beneficiary
  • You become a U.S. citizen
  • You have worked for 10 years (40 quarters) in the US
  • You leave the U.S. permanently

In case you avail certain repayable public benefits after becoming a Green Card holder, the Affidavit of Support allows the U.S. government to recover this amount from your petitioning sponsor. Please make note of the changes that the Department of Homeland Security has made to the Public Charge rule. A ground of inadmissibility is a reason that could deny a person a Green Card among other immigration benefits. Public Charge is one of the grounds of inadmissibility. Anyone seeking an immigrant visa may be considered to be inadmissible if they are likely to become dependent on public benefits, making them a ‘public charge’.

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