Form I-864 or Affidavit of Support: basic overview

There’s no doubt about it. U.S. immigration law is complicated. The sheer amount of paperwork associated with citizenship and lawful permanent residence is daunting, even for seasoned professionals. For the average person who either dreams of living here or wants to help make that dream a reality, it is often confusing, intimidating and overwhelming.

One of the forms that you must fill out if you are helping a relative get an immigrant visa or green card is the Form I-864, or Affidavit of Support. In this article, we will give you a basic overview of what this form is for, how to fill it out, where to send it, and what happens once your request is processed.

Fill out I-864

According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), this form is used to demonstrate that an immigrant will be able to meet his or her financial obligations without any type of government assistance  while living in the United States, and  that you are capable if of providing financial support if he or she is unable to do so.

This is more than just another form, however. As far as the U.S. government is concerned, a completed and signed Affidavit of Support has the force of law. This means that you, as the sponsor, must not only demonstrate that you can financially support the immigrant, but that you will do so if necessary, and for as long as necessary. In other words, you must be prepared to support the immigrant(s) in question until they become U.S. citizens, pass away, are no longer lawful permanent residents, or obtain the required number of work credits.

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It also means that, as long as you are so obligated, you may also be liable for reimbursing any agency that provides the immigrant with benefits sought due to financial hardship. Finally, it means that the agency can sue you if it requests reimbursement and you do not comply.

As previously noted, you as the petitioner/sponsor are responsible for completing Form I-864. Each form is 12 pages long, and must be signed in order to be accepted. Having said that, it is important to note that he USCIS does not accept forms with typed or stamped names in the designated place for the signature.

Requirements for sponsor

Here are some more  tips for successful submission:

  • Make sure you answer all applicable questions fully and provide accurate information especially in the section pertaining to the sponsor’s information. If a question does not apply, put N/A in the applicable box.
  • Follow the instructions.
  • Download the form from the USCIS website (if applicable) and complete it electronically
  • If you must complete the form by hand, use black ink to do so, and answer in the available space. 
  • If you need extra space to complete any item on Form I-864, use the extra space provided in the designated part.
  • Attach a separate sheet of paper to provide additional information, making sure to include your name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) (if any) at the top of each sheet; note the page number, part number, and item number to which your answer refers; and sign and date each sheet.
  • Give the completed form and supporting documents to the immigrant you are sponsoring to file with their Form OF-230 or Form I-485.
  • Follow the instructions provided by the National Visa Center (NVC) if applicable.

If the form I-864 is being filed in connection with an application for an immigrant visa, it should be completed and submitted in accordance with instructions provided by the Department of State (DOS) and National Visa Center.

There is no fee when filed with USCIS or when filed outside of the United States through the Department of State (DOS). However, the latter does not apply when this form is filed in the U.S.

Upon receipt, USCIS reviews each Form I-864 to see if it is complete and the information provided is accurate. Failure to fill out the entire form and include accurate information may result in rejection or denial of the form. Deliberately falsifying answers or supporting documents may also result in criminal prosecution under applicable laws.

Complete your immigration paperwork using our online software. We make it easy!
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