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What is Form I-864, and How Can It Help You?

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Are you finding for a way to bring your family member to the United States? If so, you may have heard about Form I-864, the Affidavit of Support. This form is essential to sponsoring a family member who wants to come to the United States.

Let us look at what Form I-864 is and how it can help you.

What Is Form I-864?

Form I-864, or the Affidavit of Support, is crucial for anyone seeking a green card in the United States. This legal contract, drafted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), requires a citizen or lawful permanent resident to sponsor an intending immigrant.

The sponsor commits to financial support for the immigrant and ensures they do not become a public charge. Also, a joint sponsor may be necessary if the primary sponsor does not meet the federal income tax returns threshold. As such, this condition is as per the federal poverty guidelines.

Key components of Form I-864 include details about the following:

  • Sponsor's financial situation
  • Family members
  • Employment status
  • Obligations for support

To obtain visa approval from the National Visa Center, submit an affidavit of support. Likewise, present alongside the visa or green card application.

In summary, filling out Form I-864 demonstrates the sponsor's commitment. Besides, it shows the financial capability to support an intending immigrant. And thus, ensuring a smooth transition while aiming for lawful permanent residency in the USA.

Who Can Complete Form I-864?

As mentioned, form I-864, or Affidavit of Support, helps ensure financial responsibility for those planning to immigrate to the United States. This responsibility falls on the person completing the form, called the sponsor. So, who can complete this essential document?

Below are eligible to complete Form I-864.

Eligible Sponsor Criteria
U.S. Citizen Sponsor A U.S. citizen is at least 18 years old. Also, they have lived in the United States for over 6 out of 12 months. Lastly, they must meet the minimum annual income requirements.
Permanent Resident Sponsor Lawful permanent residents who meet the age, residence, and income qualifications.
Joint Sponsor Sometimes, a third party called a joint sponsor may help meet the financial responsibility of Form I-864. The primary and joint sponsors must meet eligibility requirements, including minimum annual income standards.
Parent of a Child Citizen If the immigrant seeking support is the child of a U.S. citizen, the child's parent may complete Form I-864 under the Child Citizenship Act to help their child attain citizenship.
Significant Ownership Interest Holder An individual with a substantial ownership interest in a company sponsoring an immigrant. Plus, they must prove their ability to support the immigrant through business investments.

Minimum Income Requirement for Filing Affidavit of Support Forms

As part of the immigration process, sponsors must fill out this form. This way, they prove their financial means to support the prospective immigrating relative.

Also, by completing this process, sponsors accept the responsibility of providing financial assistance. Subsequently, it ensures that the incoming immigrant is independent of public benefits.

To ensure that a financial sponsor does not become a public charge, USCIS has set income requirements, such as:

  • A sponsor's income must be at least 125% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines for their household size. This ensures the sponsor can support their family members and the immigrant seeking a green card.
  • For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (e.g., Army, Marines) sponsoring their spouse or minor child, the income requirement is lowered to 100% for their household member size.

However, this requirement does not apply to a joint or substitute sponsor.

Affidavit of Support Supporting Documents

When submitting your Affidavit of Support, including the necessary supporting documentation is essential. These documents provide evidence of your income.

Here is a breakdown of the supporting documents you will need:

  • Tax Returns. Submit your most recent federal income tax returns to show a consistent income history. Sometimes, you may need to provide tax returns from the past three years.
  • W-2s. Providing your Wage and Tax Statements demonstrates your annual earnings as an employee. This document can prove your minimum income requirements for sponsoring your relative.
  • Bank Statements. These provide evidence of your financial stability. Also, it shows that you have enough funds in your accounts to support your loved ones.
  • Pay Stubs. Recent pay stubs can verify your current employment and income. Provide pay stubs from the past six months to show your regular income.
  • Other Evidence of Income. Present additional sources of income, such as rental income, dividends, or retirement benefits.
  • Child Citizenship Act. If you are sponsoring a child eligible for citizenship under the act, provide evidence of their eligibility. As such, give the child's citizenship certificate or U.S. passport.

Remember, these documents are crucial to establishing financial responsibility in your I-864 Affidavit of Support. Providing them, you help ensure a smoother process toward becoming lawful residents.

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The Benefits of Filing Form I-864 Affidavit of Support

Below are the benefits of filing Form I-864 Affidavit of Support for both the sponsor and the intending immigrant:

  • Financial Responsibility. Filing Form I-864 demonstrates your ability to financially support yourself and your dependents, showcasing stability in the eyes of immigration officials.
  • Increased Approval Chances. A strong I-864 Affidavit of Support strengthens your green card application, improving your likelihood of approval.
  • Access to Joint Sponsor. If your income is insufficient to meet sponsorship requirements, a joint sponsor can help you fulfill the financial requirements.
  • Health Insurance Coverage. A sponsored immigrant under Form I-864 has the potential to gain access to health insurance coverage.
  • Public Education Access. Children of intending immigrants may qualify for free public education once the I-864 affidavit of support is approved.
  • Housing Assistance. Sponsored immigrants can obtain housing aid through state-sponsored programs.
  • Employment Opportunities. The affidavit of support increases credibility, opening up better employment opportunities for the intending immigrant.
  • Household Member Support. The Form I-864 can include household members as beneficiaries, providing financial security for the entire family.
  • Legal Rights Protection. The I-864 affidavit of support ensures the sponsored immigrant's rights to access services, resources, and legal protection.
  • Safety Net. Form I-864 provides a financial safety net in case of unforeseen medical expenses or other costs associated with living in the U.S., ensuring stability and security during the immigrant's transition.

Penalties for Submitting a False Document With Your I-864

Submitting a false affidavit of support or providing inaccurate information on Form I-864 can result in serious consequences. If you falsify facts or submit a false document with your I-864, you may face several penalties, such as:

  • Denial of Form I-864. Your affidavit of support will face rejection. Plus, they may deny the immigration benefit of the applicant you are sponsoring.
  • Denial of other immigration benefits. Any further immigration applications or petitions you have submitted may undergo rejection.
  • Criminal prosecution. You could be subject to prosecution under the laws of the United States.
  • Fines and imprisonment. If found guilty, you may face both financial penalties and incarceration.
  • Loss of immigration status. You may lose your legal status in the country as an immigrant.
  • Deportation or removal proceedings. You may be in removal proceedings, and they may deport you from the United States.
  • Damage to your reputation. A conviction for fraud or misrepresentation could impact your personal and professional life.
  • Impact on future visa applications. This may hinder your potential applications for visas and other immigration benefits.
  • Travel restrictions. You may experience limited or restricted mobility in and out of the United States.
  • A permanent record. A conviction would result in a permanent criminal record that may negatively impact your life in various ways.

To avoid these penalties and successfully meet the financial sponsorship obligation. Likewise, ensure that you provide accurate and complete information on your Form I-864.

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Process of Filing an Affidavit of Support

When filing an Affidavit of Support, it is crucial to understand and follow the correct steps in filing this document. As such, here is the process of filing an Affidavit of Support:

  1. Determine if you must file Form I-864. Not all immigrants require financial sponsorship. Verify if you are the petitioner and your relative's income meets the poverty guidelines.
  2. Download and complete Form I-864. Go to the website of USCIS to download the form. Then, ensure to fill it accurately and completely.
  3. Gather the required documents. Collect supporting financial papers, such as tax returns or proof of income. These documents will demonstrate your financial stability.
  4. Submit Form I-864 and supporting documents. Send the completed affidavit and the necessary documents to the designated National Visa Center (NVC) address stated in the instructions.
  5. Attend the visa interview. The intending immigrant attends the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The consular officer will review the affidavit to determine if the financial sponsorship obligation has been met.

Following these steps will help ensure a smooth process when obtaining a U.S. Green Card.

Conclusion

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Form I-864 helps ensure that sponsored family members have adequate financial support once they arrive in the United States. As a sponsor, you need to understand what this form entails so you can complete it correctly.

However, preparing and filing Form I-864 can seem daunting at first glance. Yet, knowing what it is and how it works can help make this process easier. Likewise, it will lead you closer to achieving your immigration goals.

Lastly, it is best to consult an experienced immigration attorney. As such, you may seek help at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC. Doing so will help guide you through the process and help you submit a truthful and error-free application.

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