Financial Sponsorship for Immigrant Visa Applicants: A Guide
Each applicant for an immigrant visa must present a notarized Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This is a legally binding document. The Form I-864 is completed by the applicant's sponsor, who is always the petitioner.
In addition to the completed I-864, the sponsor must provide other documents to support the I-864. These documents can include the following: a tax return for the last year signed by the sponsor; photocopy of the sponsor's U.S. passport or "green card"; and, if requested, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) transcripts.
If the sponsor has not filed a tax return, he must provide a sworn statement explaining why he did not file a return. If the sponsor is not working or has earned income less than the U.S. poverty guidelines, a credible joint sponsor (normally a close relative) is required.
The sponsor must include himself, and all individuals living in his household in the I-864. As a result, if the sponsor lives with his brother, parents, nieces and nephews, etc., he must include them in his I-864, even if they file separate returns. The sponsor must demonstrate that he can support himself, and all individuals living with him. If their income needs to be combined in order for the sponsor to meet U.S. poverty guidelines, their financial documentation must be included as well, along with a Form I-864A.
If the sponsor is married, the spouse must be included in the household size, and his income tax returns must also be included. If either the sponsor or his spouse is receiving public benefits or unemployment compensation, a credible joint sponsor is required.
Also, anyone claiming "business income" on his return must provide evidence of the business, receipts, registration, the exact nature of the work, and so forth.
Note: These are general guidelines. When the consular officer reviews the documents submitted he may ask to see more documents to verify specific matters.
Who needs an I-864 under INA Section 213A?
All family-based immigrants, including orphans and eligible accompanying family members (self-petitioning widow/ers and battered spouses and children are exempt from this requirement)
Those employment-based immigrants who are petitioned by a relative or by a business in which a relative has significant ownership interest
Who completes an I-864 under INA Section 213A?
The person who should complete the affidavit is the sponsor.
- For family-based immigrants, the petitioner is the sponsor
- For employment-based immigrants the petitioning relative with significant ownership interest in the petitioning entity is the sponsor
- Under certain circumstances, a joint sponsor/s will complete a I-864
Do all eligible accompanying family members have to submit an I-864?
Yes. A Form I-864 with all supporting documents must be submitted for each visa applicant, including eligible accompanying family members.
Can photocopies be submitted by eligible accompanying family members?
Yes. Photocopies of the I-864 may be submitted for eligible accompanying family members, but each copy must have original signatures.
Validity of the I-864 and I-864A
Forms I-864 and I-864A are valid indefinitely from the day they are signed.