Legal responsibility of the financial requirements of the family member you bring into the US to live permanently must be accepted by you. By completing and signing a document, namely the Form I-864, called the Affidavit of Support, you accept this responsibility, become the relative’s sponsor and ensure that the relative does not become dependent on the government for any sort of financial assistance. Until that relative becomes a US citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters of work this legally enforced responsibility is binding on you.
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
The USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support must be completed and submitted by you if you are bringing a relative to the US. The affidavit of support has to be filed along with the following forms:
- Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative
- Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (if the prospective employee is a foreign relative)
- Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e)
- Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative and
- Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition
US citizens or lawful permanent residents who are filing one of the above forms need to also file the affidavit of support if they are sponsoring the following categories of relatives:
- Immediate Relatives: Relatives of US citizens including spouses, unmarried children under age 21, and parents of US citizens petitioners above 21 years of age.
- First Preference: Adult (21 years or older), unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens.
- Second Preference: The lawful permanent resident’s spouses, unmarried children and unmarried sons and daughters
- Third Preference: The US citizen’s married sons and daughters, their spouses and their minor children.
- Fourth Preference: Adult US citizen’s brothers and sisters, their spouses and their minor children.
If you are a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and filed an employment-based immigration petition namely USCIS Form I-140 for a relative you must complete a Form I-864. The affidavit of support needs to be completed if you have a significant ownership interest say 5% or more in a business your relative works for and which filed the employment-based immigrant petition for your relative.
If the intending immigrant is
- someone who can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work in the US OR
- someone who will become a US citizen under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act OR
- a self-petitioning widow(er) with an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrants OR
- a self-petitioning battered spouse or child with an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrants
they need not file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. They will have to file Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s I-864 Exemption instead.
A separate I-130 is required for individual relatives that a petitioner sponsors. Therefore, separate affidavits of support, Form I-864, should accompany each I-130 petition. Same applies when you are filing an I-140 on behalf of relatives.