Is An Affidavit of Support Needed for My Green Card?

What is an Affidavit of Support?

An affidavit of support is a legal document from a sponsor that gives assurance of financial support for an immigrant seeking to adjust to permanent residency as a green card holder. The sponsor (such as a relative or family member) is generally a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident who is already settled in the U.S.

The affidavit of support is known as a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government that binds the sponsor to provide financial support for the foreign national if needed. Such support covers:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Healthcare and other
  • Essential needs

Before the sponsor takes on such responsibilities he or she needs to provide proof of income or financial resources to take on this responsibility. This can be done by showing:

  • A stable job
  • Recent tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Investments and
  • Other assets or sources of income

Additionally, the sponsor must demonstrate that they have taken on financial responsibility for the immigrant visa applicant. This includes providing evidence that the sponsor’s income is at least 125% of the federal poverty line established by the federal government.

When Do I Need To File an Affidavit of Support?

An affidavit of support is also known as a Form I-864, which is required when submitting an immigrant visa petition for many categories. However, most people do not know whether they need to file it or not.

Every petitioner who files an I-864 agrees to financially support a foreign national who will be seeking lawful permanent residence or adjusting status in the U.S. The petitioner also known as the financial sponsor usually sponsors the immigrant visa petition. The U.S. government requires the Form I-864 so the beneficiary is not subject to becoming a public charge if they are unable to fend for themselves.

Normally, family-based immigrants require the petitioner to complete the Form I-864. Select employment-based immigrants also require that their sponsors submit an affidavit of support. There are also financial requirements that a sponsor has to meet to be eligible to file the form. Also, there are exceptions to filing requirements.

To Whom is the Form I-864 Applicable?

Anyone who falls into any of the following categories is required to file an affidavit of support:

  • Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens - spouses, parents and unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Immigrants who fall into the four family preference categories (Ask an immigration attorney for more information)
  • Employment-based preference immigrants whose permanent resident or citizen relative filed their immigrant visa petition
  • Employment-based immigrants who have a family member with a significant ownership interest (over five percent) in the business or organization that filed the visa application on their behalf

Your sponsor must also be able to submit relevant supporting documentation proving that they meet the income requirements. The petitioner may also submit other financial documents to prove their capacity and will need to provide evidence of their legal status in the U.S. as a citizen or lawful permanent resident.

When Does a Petitioner Need to File an Affidavit of Support?

For foreign nationals applying via consular processing, their sponsor must complete form I-864 when they have been scheduled to attend an immigrant visa interview. In the meantime, individuals filing for an adjustment of status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will need to request that their sponsor fill out the form. When in doubt about filing an affidavit of support, speak with an immigration lawyer.

Contact Your Nearest Immigration Law Firm

If you need to sponsor a family member for an immigrant visa application an Immigration Attorney at Gambacorta Law Office will gladly help you. You will be advised whether or not you meet the financial income requirements. You can rest assured that we will assist you to correctly prepare the application forms and submit your documents. Call us today at 847 443 9303 for your first free consultation.