WHEN DO I HAVE TO SIGN THE AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT (FORM I-864)?
The petitioning family member must be the sponsor for the Affidavit in family-based petitions. Note that even if the petitioner cannot satisfy the income requirements of the I-864, he or she still must sign the Affidavit. If a relative to the beneficiary either files the I-140 employment based visa or has a significant ownership interest in the company that files the same petition, he or she must sign the I-864.
WHAT ARE THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS OF THE I-864?
The sponsor must be: 1] A U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident 2] 18 years of age 3] Domiciled in United States. Note that this requirement frequently arises if a US citizen is living with his or her spouse outside the United States. At the immigrant visa interview, the consular office may require the petitioner to re-establish his or her domicile prior to granting the immigrant visa. 4] And have an income 125% above the federal poverty line: A] USCIS determines the 125% guideline based on to the sponsor’s household size. The income requirements increase as the size of the sponsor’s household becomes larger. B] Enter your current individual earned or retirement annual income to determine if you qualify. You can also use assets to offset any shortcomings. C] If you do not qualify outright, you can add the income of a household member to qualify. If you do not have a household member who can contribute, you can find a joint sponsor. D] Joint Sponsor must qualify
WHEN IS THE I-864 NOT REQUIRED?
The I-864 does not apply to Employment Based cases. An exception to this applies if a relative to the beneficiary either files the I-140 employment based visa or has a significant ownership interest in the company that files the same petition. Similarly, the I-864 Affidavit of Support is not required in cases involving: (1) diversity immigrants; (2) special immigrants; (3) self-petitioning immigrants (widows/widowers, spouses/children subjected to battery or extreme cruelty, and certain children, spouses and grandparents under the USA PATRIOT Act); (3) Refugees and asylees adjusting status; (4) Registrants under INA §249; and (5) persons who have already earned or can be credited with 40 quarters of employment under social security guidelines
IF I SIGN THE AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT, WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES?
1] Sponsor must maintain immigrant at an annual income of at least 125% of poverty 2] Sponsor must reimburse agencies that provide public means-tested benefits to immigrant 3] Address reporting requirements: Any time the sponsor moves, he would submit the I-865 address change form.
HOW LONG IS THE SPONSOR/PETITIONER RESPONSIBLE UNDER THE I-864?
The sponsor is liable, until the sponsored relative or employee: 1] Naturalizes 2] Loses or relinquishes LPR status 3] Obtains a new grant of adjustment in a removal proceeding 4] Has earned or been credited with 40 qualifying quarters under the Social Security Act (about 10 years) 5] Passes away
IF THE ORIGINAL PETITIONING FAMILY MEMBER PASSES AWAY, CAN ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER ACT AS A SUBSTITUTE AND SIGN THE AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT?
Yes. Limited circumstances exist where a defined family member can act as a substitute. USCIS must have approved the visa petition before the petitioner passed away. If the affected parties can establish that adequate humanitarian grounds exist, the Attorney General will revalidate the previously approved I-130 petition.
I SIGNED THE I-864 FOR MY FORMER SPOUSE. WE ARE NOW DIVORCED. DO I STILL HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE I-864?
Possibly. Please note that some courts have found the I-864 enforceable and ordered support payments to a former spouse. This means that such an obligation could survive a divorce.