If you have moved to the United States because you have family who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires you to submit Form I-864, also known as an Affidavit of Support.
People who move to the U.S. for work may also need this form. In either situation, it’s a way to prove that someone in the U.S. can help financially support you.
Form I-864 is titled the Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The form’s purpose is to show that the recipient of the Affidavit of Support will not need to rely on government financial support.
The family member (or employer) in the U.S. who signs this form is the sponsor and promises to financially support their immigrant family members (or employees).
The USCIS Affidavit of Support is a contract.
Sponsored relatives can include spouses, children, siblings, and parents.
If the sponsor does not support the sponsored immigrant and the immigrant seeks governmental assistance, the supporting agency can sue the sponsor for repayment.
As an immigrant, if you have a family member in the U.S. signing Form I-864, you should not apply for local, state, or federal financial assistance (with a few exceptions like Medicaid and Child Nutrition Act services).
If you face financial difficulties, the family member in the U.S. who signed the form will be responsible for helping you.
There are four forms categorized under Form I-864.
In most cases, you will only need to fill out a single form, but more forms may be necessary. The forms you must complete depend on your financial situation, how many people you sponsor, and the immigrant’s circumstances.
Below is a breakdown of the four forms categorized under I-864.
Form I-864 is the main form for the Affidavit of Support. If you bring a family member to the U.S. using Form I-130 or an employee using Form I-140, you’ll use Form I-864.
A joint sponsor can share the responsibility for supporting the person coming to the U.S. with the sponsor and must also sign Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
The joint sponsor must live in the U.S. and earn enough money—125% of the poverty guidelines or more–for their household size and the number of sponsored individuals.
Form I-864A is a contract between a sponsor and a member of their household.
Like a joint sponsor, this person’s income and financial assets help the sponsor meet the sponsorship requirements.
It’s different from a joint sponsor because this person is a qualifying family member (spouse, sibling, parent, or adult child) in the same household.
Form I-864EZ is a shorter, easier form for people bringing one family member to the U.S. using Form I-130.
You must meet these qualifications if you’re using this form:
You can’t use this form if you have a more complicated sponsorship situation (For example, if you need a joint sponsor or you’re an employer, etc.).
Form I-864W is for those who do not need to file for an official Affidavit of Support yet are still applying for permanent residency.
Form I-864W is an exception to Form I-864.
When Can You Use Form I-864W?
Proof of your ability to financially sponsor an immigrant:
Proof of identity and status:
If using household income to meet financial requirements:
If using assets to prove financial ability:
If sponsoring more than one immigrant:
If active duty military sponsoring spouse/child:
The current Affidavit of Support income requirements are on the USCIS website. You can find the guidelines for all 50 states.
There are three options to choose from:
The options differ, so look at the correct location and poverty guidelines.
There are also different requirements for different households. For example, a family with two people in Wisconsin, 125% of the poverty guidelines, is $28,350 for 2023, but a household with four people is $43,125.
Note that there are different requirements for sponsors on active duty for the United States military and petitioning on behalf of their spouse or child. If you are an active service member, you must submit proof of your active military status along with Form I-864.
There is no filing fee if Form I-864 is filed with USCIS or the Department of State (DOS) abroad.
Action Required: Provide your full name (the sponsor) and select the Item Number that reflects your basis for filing Form I-864.
Provide the principal immigrant’s full name, mailing address, country of citizenship, date of birth, Alien Registration Number, USCIS Online Account Number, and daytime telephone number.
Indicate whether you are sponsoring the principal immigrant and provide information about family members immigrating with the principal immigrant.
Provide your full name, mailing and physical address, country of domicile, date and place of birth, U.S. Social Security Number, Alien Registration Number, USCIS Online Account Number, and information about military service.
Calculate your household size, including yourself, dependents, and any intending immigrants you are sponsoring.
Provide information about your employment and current individual annual income. You must submit either an IRS transcript or a photocopy of your Federal individual income tax return for the most recent tax year.
Complete this part if your Current Annual Household Income does not meet the requirement and you are using assets to supplement income. You must provide evidence of the value of your assets and the assets of a household member or the intending immigrant.
Use this part if extra space is needed to provide additional information within this affidavit. Attach separate sheets if more space is needed, indicating the Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number to which the information refers.
You will stop being financially responsible when the resident you sponsored has:
Even if you sponsor your spouse and later get divorced, you’ll continue to be their sponsor until one of the qualified conditions applies to your situation.
Individuals who are self-petitioning as widows or widowers of U.S. citizens and immigrants self-petitioning as a battered spouse or child under the Violence Against Women Act do not need to complete Form I-864.
If the sponsor passes away after the Form I-864 has been approved but before the immigrant has arrived in the United States, the approval may be revoked.
In this case, a substitute sponsor can file a new Form I-864. A substitute sponsor must be a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.
If you receive Form I-864 from the National Visa Center (NVC), you can submit it online via the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
If you’re submitting Form I-864 to USCIS directly, possibly with Form I-130 or Form I-129F, send it to the USCIS Chicago lockbox.
The frustrating reality is there isn’t a guaranteed answer for how long processing will take for your immigration forms and processing. Typically, it will take at least six weeks, but depending on your situation and processing center, it could take longer than a year.
If you’re submitting Form I-864 along with other forms like your I-130, you can use USCIS’s Processing Times Calculator to determine the current estimated wait times based on your circumstances.
Whether you are a sponsor or an immigrating family member, our experienced immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are poised to guide you through every step of the Affidavit of Support process with:
Contact us by filling out an online form today.View Similar Articles