EP5: How To Find A Joint Sponsor For I-864
When sponsoring someone for a visa or green card, you must prove that you make enough income to support them. The income requirement differs depending on whether the person is applying for an immigrant visa or a nonimmigrant visa. So, in this post, we’ll talk about how to find a joint sponsor for I-864 affidavit of support.
Generally, the I-864 is required if you are sponsoring someone for an immigrant visa or helping them to adjust status inside the U.S.
The affidavit of support is a legally binding contract between you and the U.S. government. If the beneficiary were to get on public assistance (welfare), then the U.S. government can take you to court to recoup these costs.
What Is the I-864 Affidavit Of Support?
- Binding contract between sponsor and US government.
- As I said before, this is an actual contract that can be enforced in court. Be sure to read and understand the entire I-864 form before signing it. Although you can withdraw the I-864 affidavit of support before the visa or green card is issued, this is a rare exception. Most sponsors don’t realize the seriousness of this form until it’s too late.
- Promise to financially support the intending immigrant.
- The I-864 affidavit of support requires that you support the beneficiary at 125% of the poverty guideline. This means that you will provide housing, food, clothing and all other necessities at this income level. Even if the immigrant finds a job in the U.S., you are still required to support them financially.
- I’ve seen couples separate and the beneficiary took the sponsor to court claiming that the I-864 requires that they be financially supported at 125% of the poverty guidelines even if they are no longer together. Trying to fight this will be very difficult and expensive which is why you need to be absolutely sure before signing it.
- Can be used to sue you in court.
- The example above shows you how the beneficiary can take you to court over the I-864 support but so can the U.S. government. Although this is very rare, it still can happen. There isn’t much you can do if the beneficiary applies and receives government assistance except hope that the U.S. government doesn’t come after you.
- Required to avoid the public charge ground of inadmissibility.
- If you are still married to your foreign spouse, it’s easy to avoid getting on public assistance. Just don’t apply. The beneficiary doesn’t even qualify for Medicaid until they are a green card holder for 5 years or naturalize (whichever comes sooner).
You can withdraw an I-864 that was already submitted in some circumstances.
When Your Will Responsibility End For I-864
- Beneficiary works 40 quarters (10 years).
- work of spouse counts towards the 40 quarter requirement. What this means is that if the beneficiary stays married to the U.S. citizen spouse for 10 years but never works, the I-864 will become null and void after reaching 10 quarters of full time employment for the American spouse. I’ll tell you that is very rare though. Most people apply for citizenship before the 10 year time period lapses but it’s good to know if you are in this situation.
- Beneficiary becomes US citizen.
- When a permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen, the I-864 affidavit of support is no longer enforceable. The beneficiary is now required to financially take care of themselves by working a job and paying taxes. If an immigrant is married to a U.S. citizen they are eligible to naturalize in 3 years but if they divorced, they must wait 5 years before qualifying for the N-400 citizenship application.
- Beneficiary no longer is a permanent resident (loses GC).
- If someone no longer is a permanent resident of the United States, the I-864 can’t be enforced by the U.S. government. But, the tricky part is that someone would need to abandon their green card or have it revoked by USCIS. Abandoning a green card can happen when someone leaves the U.S. permanently for a period of time. The other way someone can lose a green card is if USCIS revokes their status and deports them.
- Beneficiary is subject to removal but applies and gets AOS.
- Submitting a new I-864 can make the old I-864 void. This can happen if someone is reapplying for permanent residence because they lost their status or are able to avoid removal proceedings. It will be hard to find out if your spouse had someone else sponsor them but you may able to contact USCIS to find out if your I-864 is still in effect.
- Beneficiary dies.
- If the immigrant that you sponsored passes away, you will not be held responsible under the affidavit of support. This is common sense, right?
Joint Sponsor Requirements For I-864
- Must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or U.S. national.
- The most important requirement is that you are a legal resident of the United States to qualify as a sponsor. There may be some restrictions for green card holders and U.S. nationals but as long as you have legal status in the U.S. you can sponsor someone for the I-864 affidavit of support.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- This one is common sense. You must be an adult (age 18 and over) before you can financially support a new immigrant. This requirement is absolutely necessary for a joint sponsor as well.
- Domiciled in the United States.
- Lots of people get confused by the term “domiciled” but don’t be! It just means that you make the U.S. your permanent home. If an U.S. citizen lives abroad full time then they can’t sponsor someone for the I-864. This is because the U.S. wants to be able to take you to court in the U.S. if the immigrant does end up using public government assistance programs.
- Must submit separate I-864.
- A joint sponsor must submit a separate I-864 along with the primary sponsor. For every additional joint sponsor you use, they must complete their own affidavit of support. If the joint sponsors are spouses and live in the same household, they can combine their income and use one I-864.
- Meet the income requirement for their household.
- A joint sponsor must meet the income requirement for the household size plus the intending immigrant. To calculate the household size, you must include all people that live with you who are dependent on your income. In some cases, you may be required to include children that don’t live with you full time but are dependents on your tax returns.
Who Can Be Joint Sponsor For I-864?
- Parents – You can definitely have your parents be the joint sponsors. Sometimes having the people who are closest to you are more willing to help you sponsor your spouse.
- Adult children – If you have adult children that work full time and can meet the income requirement, you can certainly have them fill out the I-864 to be an additional sponsor for you. They must be 18 years old and a legal resident of the U.S.
- Friends – Asking a friend to be a joint sponsor can be difficult. Unless you are very close to them it may be hard to get them to provide you with their financial information (tax forms, bank statements, investment documents). I recommend asking friends if you have no family that is willing or able to help your sponsor your relative.
- Coworkers – Some people feel comfortable asking the people they work with to be their joint sponsors but I find this to be the most difficult option. First, you may not be that close to coworkers and it can make the relationship is more weird if things don’t work out with you and the intending immigrant. But, if this is the only option you have then you should pursue it.
Consider using a household members income
- Pool together income of working adults.
- Another option you have is to pool together all income of every adult in your household. This can include adult children, roommates, and parents. Each household member must fill out their own affidavit of support but you can meet the income requirement together. This can be useful if no one individually can meet the income requirement but you have no problem doing so by adding your income together.
- Will need to complete form I864A.
- The I-864A is a contract between sponsor and household member. This means that USCIS can still sue the other household members if the immigrant uses public welfare programs. The household members are signing an agreement with the primary sponsor that their income is available to the intending immigrant.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.