The affidavit of support is often a source of great confusion because there are two forms bearing the same number: the I-864 and the I-864A. Although they are both affidavits, each fulfill different purposes and are intended for different people. Here are the key things to keep in mind:
The I-864 is filled out by the Petitioner who is the main Sponsor. If the Petitioner's income is insufficient, he or she may need to seek out the financial support of a Joint Sponsor. A Joint Sponsor is an individual who is willing to undertake the financial obligations involved in sponsoring an immigrant. Like the main petitioner, the Joint Sponsor is required to show that he/she independently meets the financial requirements and affirm that he/she will support the immigrant at 125% of the federal poverty guideline. If the Joint Sponsor does not live within the same household as the petitioner, then he/she will ordinarily be completing a separate I-864.
The I-864A is completed by a Household Member. If, for example, the petitioner is unable to meet the financial requirements to support someone but has a relative who resides in the same household that is willing to help out, the relative may complete the I864A rather than the I864. In filling out the I-864A, the household member is taking on the obligations involved with sponsoring an alien and adding his/her income to the petitioner's income to meet or exceed 125% of the poverty guideline level. For example, if petitioner A makes $10,000 and his father, who lives in the same household, makes $20,000, the father would complete I-864A. The two incomes would then be combined to equal $30,000, thereby allowing the financial requirement to be satisfied. However, this also means that in addition to petitioner A being liable in the event that the government seeks reimbursement, the father would be equally responsible.
Who is eligible to complete the I-864A?
Those household members who live in the same household as the petitioner and who are related to the petitioner may execute the I864A. Multiple household members may complete the I864A and make their income available to the main petitioner or sponsor. A "household member" is considered somebody who is
- A relative who has the same principal residence as the sponsor and is related to the sponsor as a spouse, adult child, parent or sibling;
- A relative or other perons whom the sponsor has lawfully claimed as a dependent on the sponsor's most recent Federal income tax return even if that person does not live at the same residence as the sponsor.
Can the Intending Immigrant be considered a household member?
Under certain circumstances, the intending immigrant may use his/her own income and add it to the sponsor's to meet the affidavit of support requirements. What is the benefit of this? It is very common that a sponsor/petitioner does not make enough to meet the requirements but unable to find anyone who can help. On the other hand, if the intending immigrant is already working and earning income lawfully, the only solution may be to use the immigrant's income. An intending immigrant's income will be considered under the following circumstances:
- The intending immigrant has the same principal residence as the sponsor and the intending immigrant can establish that his or her income will continue from the same source, even after acquisition of permanent residence, or
- The intending immigrant is the sponsor's spouse and the intending immigrant can show that his or her income will continue from the same source after acquisition of permanent residence.
Keep in mind that the income must be from lawful employment, not proceeds from illegal activity or unauthorized employment.
For more information on the affidavit of support and different ways that the income requirement may be satisfied, contact our office.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned at least one new thing or tip that you may not have known. To keep informed about the latest developments in immigration law, please subscribe to our blog feed by clicking on the "Subscribe To This Blog's Feed" button on the left. It is important to understand that the above is only general information and not legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship nor should it be relied upon as legal advice. The law is extremely fact and circumstance sensitive. For an individual legal analysis of your specific legal case, please complete the "Case Evaluation" box to the right of the screen to get in touch with one of our attorneys.