Affidavit of Support
What is an Affidavit of Support
In the context of immigration law, an affidavit of support is a document which is signed by a petitioning family member and is their promise made to the U.S. Government that they will accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative who is coming to live permanently in the United States.
When is an Affidavit of Support Required?
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support needs to be completed by the following individuals:
- All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (which include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21, including orphans) and relatives who qualify for immigration to the United States under one of the family-based preference categories.
- Employment based preference immigrants in cases only when a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative filed the immigrant visa petition, or such relative has a significant ownership interest (5% or more) in the entity that filed the petition.
What Evidence Needs to be Submitted?
First off, it is important for a sponsor to know that their income must meet certain requirements. Each year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes its poverty guidelines. The petitioner must check the poverty guidelines to verify that their household income is greater than or equal to 125% of the U.S. poverty level. If a petitioner’s income level does not meet the amount set in the guidelines, they may provide evidence of other cash assets (such as stocks, bonds, property) and they may count the income and assets of other household members.
The sponsor/petitioner must be prepared to provide a copy of their most recent U.S. federal income tax return as well as proof of current employment. Generally, it is a good policy to provide tax returns for the previous three years in order to show consistent income.
Responsibilities of the Sponsor
As mentioned previously, when a petitioner/sponsor signs an Affidavit of Support, they are telling the U.S. Government that they will accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the beneficiary of their petition. This promise generally lasts until the sponsored immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, or is credited with forty quarters of work in the U.S. Divorce does not end the obligation of sponsorship. If the sponsored immigrant receives any public benefits, the petitioner/sponsor is responsible for repaying the costs of those benefits to the agency which provided them.
If you or someone you know is considering a family-based petition or visa application, consider setting up a consult with an attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.
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