The United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the State Department require some immigrants to present evidence of economic support and financial sponsorship until they become naturalized citizens. This is the case for most marriage and family-based immigration cases; some non-immigrant visas for employment purposes may also also be subject to this requirement. To this effect, sponsors must complete a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to include with the petition.
If the immigrant is outside of the U.S. at the time the petition process begins, the I-864 must be filed along with the corresponding visa application. For example, a woman in Argentina who is being sponsored by her father should submit form DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration and the I-864 to the U.S. consulate at the same time.
Purpose of Form I-864
By completing the I-864, sponsors are making a formal promise to assume financial responsibility for the immigrants named on the petition. Sponsored immigrants are barred from receiving public assistance until they become U.S. citizens; thereby, their sponsors are legally obligated to provide financial support during the application process.
Proof of income and solvency is required for this filing. Income tax returns, W2 forms, pay stubs and pension forms are the preferred supporting documents. The I-864 must show gross income that is at least 125 percent of the poverty line, which varies by state and family size. The USCIS and Social Security websites provide this information; should one sponsor not be sufficient to meet the income requirement, other household members can complete I-864A form attachments along with their supporting documents. Sponsors who are active duty members of the Armed Forces must only show gross income that is 100 percent of the poverty limit.
Online Payment, Registration and Mailing
There is no separate filing fee for the I-864. The entire adjustment of status (AOS) fee must be paid before the I-864 and supporting documents are mailed. Payment can be made online at the National Visa Center website; a case registration number will be issued once payment is made. This number should appear on each page of the form I-864. From this point forward, sponsor and immigrants can go online to check on the status of their petitions using their case numbers.