Is the I-864 Dead

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Do I still have to file an Affidavit of Support in a family-based Green Card case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St Louis, Missouri. We’ve been shooting a lot of videos about the I-864 and about the I-944. Of course, the I-864 is the Affidavit of Support and the I-944 is this new Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.

So in this video we’re talking about marriage-based or family-based Green Card cases, or overseas visa cases, where a US citizen or lawful permanent resident are trying to sponsor a family member for adjustment of status or for an immigrant visa to the United States. And this issue of the public charge comes up.

And historically, this problem or this concern on the part of the federal government has been solved by the US citizen filing an I-864. The I-864 is an Affidavit of Support. It’s about a 15 page form that sets forth all the information about the sponsoring citizen or Green Card holder’s financial status.

So you’re going to put in your tax returns, you’re going to submit your W2’s and all your proof of income. You’re going to submit how much money you’ve made in each of the last three years, and there was going to be a determination as to whether or not you make enough to support the foreign national.

Typically this was 125% of the poverty guidelines, and as long as the US citizen or Green Card holder who is sponsoring the foreign national for an immigration benefit made enough money, then they were going to be the sponsor all by themselves. If not, they were going to need a co-sponsor.

A co-sponsor is someone who says, “Well, if…” So, let’s say we have Abdul. Abdul’s a US citizen and he wants to sponsor his wife, Amany, to come to the United States. And Amany’s overseas or Amany’s here in the United States and wants to get a Green Card. And Abdul makes, let’s say, $45,000 a year in each of the last three years. Abdul has no dependents. So Abdul could on his own be Amany’s financial sponsor. This is under the old system.

Now, if Abdul only made $25,000 a year, that’s not going to be 125% of the poverty guidelines and Abdul is going to need a co-sponsor. So that can be a US citizen or Green Card holder who says that if Amany comes to the United States, gets a Green Card, gets public benefits, and Amani can’t pay them back, and Abdul can’t pay them back, then I, the co-sponsor, we’ll call him Fred. Fred says, “I will stand in for Abdul. I’m a US citizen. Here are my taxes. Here are my W2’s. I will sign an Affidavit of Support to back up Abdul.” And typically that’s how the concern over a public charge was solved.

But of course now the Trump administration has greatly expanded the use of the public charge definition. They’ve released a 850 or 890 page rule on this and there’s a new form called an I-944. So some people are wondering, well, with this I-944, which is much more focused on the foreign national’s ability to support themselves, whether they’re going to be financially solvent, whether they can earn a living in the United States, whether they can provide for themselves. The I-944 is much more detailed. It’s a real pain in the butt. We’re already sending out our first few cases with the I-944.

But some people are wondering, does that mean we don’t have to do the Affidavit of Support anymore? Well, of course not it doesn’t, because USCIS is trying to find multiple ways to screw you and to prevent you from getting that Green Card. So you not only have to do the I-944 under new rules, but you still have to go back and do the I-864. The Affidavit of Support. You know the one I mean. I’m sort of fried by throwing out all these numbers and dates and all that stuff. So I hope you forgive me.

But the Affidavit of Support is still a necessary requirement and you still have to submit it. You still have to have a co-sponsor if possible. So in other words, now USCIS is looking at not only the US citizen or Green Card holder’s ability to support the foreign national, but also the I-944, the ability of the foreign national themselves to support themselves. So it’s a much more complicated approach. But if you operate from the assumption that USCIS is always trying to figure out ways to screw you, then you’re going to understand why you have to do both forms. So just think of it that way. If they can find something to nitpick about or to complain about or to deny your case worth, they’re going to do it both ways, either with the I-864 or the I-944.

I hope this answers your questions about that. You do need both forms. You might need help doing both forms. I’m pretty much convinced that most people can’t pull off this I-944 on their own. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be fun. And having now had our office go through this a few times, it’s a lot of work, I can tell you that.

So if you have questions about the interplay of the Affidavit of Support and the petition for self sufficiency, give us a call. (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you liked this video, we ask that you share it out on social and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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