How To Fill Out Form I-864 Affidavit Of Support (Part 1)
One of the most important forms USCIS requires you to fill out is the I-864 affidavit of support. It’s used to prove that you can financially support the intending immigrant and promises the US government that they will not be come a public charge to tax payers. Basically, by signing the I-864, the beneficiary is not eligible for any government assistance.
The I-864 is a 12 page form that will ask for the sponsor and beneficiary information as well as details on your dependents and household size. You’ll need to have all your financial information readily available such as your annual income, checking/savings amount, investments, real estate, etc.
If your income is enough to meet 125% of the poverty guidelines, then you wont need to include cash and assets on the form.
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Difference Between Form I-864 and I-864A?
The I-864A is used as a contract between the sponsor and a household member to allow them to combine their income to meet the 125% poverty guideline. A “household member” is different than a joint sponsor. A household member is someone that lives with the sponsor and makes an income that can be pledged to support the beneficiary.
- Sponsor must be the person who filed the visa petition for the intending immigrant.
- If the sponsor can’t meet income requirement, they can include income from a household member.
- If sponsor dies, a substitute sponsor may sign this form along with a household member.
- If using a joint sponsor, the joint sponsor may sign this form along with a household member.
- By signing this form, a household member agrees to help the sponsor meet the income requirement.
- The sponsor needs to submit taxes and W2’s or provide a reason for not filing taxes.
2017 USCIS Income Requirements
Before you apply for the I-864, you’ll need to know whether you meet the income requirements to sponsor your relative. If you do then you can fill it out alone but if your income is short then you’ll need to find a joint sponsor.
In some cases, you can also use the beneficiary’s income to help you meet the requirement but there are restrictions. Another option when you don’t make enough is using assets instead of income. Assets must be liquid (easily convertible to cash) and can include investments, rental properties and cash in the bank.
100% Poverty Guideline
Active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
125% Poverty Guideline
For all other sponsors
How To Fill Out Form I-864
Part 1. Basis for Filing Affidavit of Support
The first part of the affidavit of support asks for basic information on the petitioner and beneficiary. If you are filling this out to obtain a spouse visa (either CR1 or IR1) then you’ll likely select the first option of part 1: I am the petitioner.
|Part 1: Basis for filing Affidavit of Support
||Part 2: Information about Principle Immigrant
|In the first field, put full legal name||1a. Family name or last name|
|1a. Check this box if you are sponsoring a spouse||1b. Given name or first name|
|1b. Check this box if you are sponsoring an employee||1c. Middle initial (optional)|
|1c. Check this box if you are an employer petitioning a worker||2a. Leave blank|
|1d. Check this box if you are the joint sponsor||2b. Street address of beneficiary|
|1e. Check this box if there is more than 1 joint sponsor||2d. City or town of beneficiary|
|1f. If sponsor has passed, substitute sponsor checks this box||2g. Providence (or state) of beneficiary|
|2h. Postal code of beneficiary|
|2i. Country of beneficiary|
Part 2 & 3. Information About the Principle Immigrant
The second page of the I-864 continues asking for information about the beneficiary. If you don’t have an A-number already then you can leave this blank. The only way you would have an A-number is if you were previously approved for another type of visa such as a student or work visa.
Part 3 asks about the beneficiary’s children that will also be moving to the United States. Make sure to include all children even those who will not be moving with you right away. I have heard of cases where a subsequent visa was denied for a child months down the road because the beneficiary didn’t include them on the I-864.
|Part 2: Information About Principle Immigrant||Part 3: Information About Immigrants You’re Sponsoring|
|3. Type the country of the beneficiary||3a. Beneficiary child’s last name|
|4. Beneficiary date of birth||3b. Beneficiary children’s first name|
|5. Include A-number if beneficiary already has one||3c. Beneficiary child’s middle initial|
|6. ELIS* is the immigrant fee payment number (if applicable)||4. Sponsor’s relationship to this immigrant|
|7. Beneficiary phone number||5. Beneficiary child’s date of birth|
|6. Include if child already has an A-number|
|8-19. Continue adding any additional children|
*ELIS website login is below. If you are unfamiliar with this website or didn’t need to make a payment through this site, you don’t need to include the ELIS number above.
Part 3 & 4. Information About Immigrants You’re Sponsoring
This section of the I-864 asks for information about the sponsor (usually petitioner). It will ask you for both a mailing address and physical address and they usually are the same. But, if you use a PO Box for your mailing address, make sure to include your physical address as well.
|Part 3: Information About Immigrants You’re Sponsoring||Part 4: Information About You (Sponsor)|
|19-28. Continue adding any additional children||1a. Sponsor’s last name|
|1b. Sponsor’s first name|
|1c. Sponsor’s middle initial|
|2a. If someone else accepts your mail, enter name|
|2b – 2i. Add mailing address of sponsor|
|3. If mailing address is same as physical address, select YES|
|4a-4h. If physical address differs, enter it|
Part 4 & 5. Additional Information and Household Size
Part 4 continues with more information about where the sponsor was born. This is important when USCIS does background checks especially if you have a common name. Question 11 asks about citizenship or residency and this may be confusing so I’ll explain the differences below.
I am a US citizen – you were either born in the United States or naturalized to be come a US citizen.
I am a US national – all US citizens are US nationals, but you can be a US national without being a citizen. A US national is a person born in or has ties to countries that are “outlying possessions of the US”. Currently only two countries qualify: American Samoa and Swains Island. If you were not born in either country, then you are not a US national.
I am a lawful permanent resident – a green card holder that has a legal right to live and work in the US.
This part of the form also asks for the “country of domicile” which basically means that the sponsor must currently make the US their home. If you live abroad and have no connections to the US (such as resident, employment, financial) then you can’t be a sponsor.
|Part 4: Information About You (Sponsor)|| Part 5: Sponsor’s Household Size
|5. Country of domicile should be the United States||1. This number is pulled from part 3, 28|
|6. Sponsor’s date of birth||2. Type 1 for yourself|
|7. Sponsor’s city of birth||3. Leave blank if spouse already included in part 3 and calculated in part 5 (1)|
|8. Sponsor’s state of birth||4-5. Leave blank if children already included in part 3 and calculated in part 5 (1)|
|9. Sponsor’s country of birth||6. If you sponsored someone not included in part 3 that are now green card holder, type 1|
|10. Sponsor’s social security number (SSN)||7. Leave blank as this is optional|
|11a. If US citizen, check this box||8. Total household size is calculated automatically on this form|
|11b. If US national, check this box|
|11c. If green card holder, check this box|
Part 6. Sponsor’s Employment and Income
Finally, we get to the good stuff! Part 6 of the I-864 will ask you for your current employer and annual income. If you are not employed, there is a box you can check but you’ll need to provide assets (3 or 5x income requirement) or cosponsor (joint sponsor).
You can also use income from other household members to help you meet the income requirement.
|Part 6: Sponsor’s Employment and Income||If using household member’s income:|
|1a. If employed, check this box||3. Household member’s full name|
|1a1. Your employers name||4. Sponsor’s relationship to household member|
|1a2. 2nd employers name (optional)||5. Household member’s annual before tax income|
|1b. If self employed, check this box||6-14. If using additional household members, repeat steps above|
|1c. If retired, check this box||15. Calculate all household annual income|
|1d. If unemployed, check this box||16. Confirm that all household members have completed form I-864A (agreement between sponsor and household member)|
|2. Put your annual before tax income|
Completing the I-864 can be difficult if you’re unfamiliar with what USCIS is looking for. The above tutorial will help you understand what each question means and how to answer it properly.
Now, click on the link below to view the final steps in completing the form.
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.