NEW YORK CITY - When people want to come to the U.S. they may need someone to sponsor them and prove they won't be a financial burden to the country. They'll need to do so by providing an affidavit of support. here is more information about it and how to properly submit it:

What is an Immigration Affidavit of Support?

An affidavit of support is a legally binding document signed by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (the sponsor) to assume financial responsibility for an immigrant or foreign national arriving to the U.S. The document is used to demonstrate that the immigrant won't pose a financial burden on the state, commonly referred to as a "public charge."

Who Can Be a Sponsor for an Immigrant?

All sponsors must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. they must be at least 18 years old and be living in the U.S. (including territories and possessions) when they file the affidavit of support. Most importantly, they must meet the financial qualifications.

If they aren't able to, other household members can be added to the sponsor's income level if they sign a contract on Form I-864A, agreeing to make their income or assets available for the support of the relative applying for permanent residence.

If the sponsor still can't meet the financial qualifications, another person must complete a separate affidavit of support to become a joint financial sponsor of the immigrant. The joint sponsor must all meet the requirements separately such as income requirements and must be willing to assume the financial liability for the sponsored immigrant.

Income Requirements and Financial Responsibility

The law requires a sponsor to prove a level of financial responsibility and have an income level at or above 125% of the federal poverty level. (For active duty military personnel, the income requirement is 100% of the poverty level when you choose to sponsor a husband, wife or children. Federal poverty levels are updated each year and you can find them here.

If the sponsor's income does not meet the income requirements, assets such as checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds or property may be considered in determining financial ability.

How to fill out an Immigration Affidavit of Support

The form used as the affidavit of support is Form I-864A. People use this form to show they have adequate means of financial support for the immigrant, so they aren't likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support. Here are the different sections of Form I-864A and what information you will need to fill out:

  • Part 1: Sponsor's Information. In this section, the sponsor confirms they are filing an affidavit of support.
  • Part 2: Information on the Principal Immigrant. In this section, the immigrant provides basic information about them such as name, address and A Number.
  • Part 3: Information on the Immigrant(s) You Are Sponsoring. In this section the sponsor gives information about all of the immigrants they are sponsoring, such as name, relationship, A Number etc.
  • Part 4: Sponsor's Household Size. In this section, the sponsor must provide more information about them such as name, address, immigration status. As well as the household size — who lives in the household and how many dependents there are.
  • Part 5: Sponsor's Income and Employment. In this section the sponsor includes information about their employment status. They can add up to the last three employers. If they are also including anyone else in the household as an addition to their income, they must include it there as well.
  • Part 6: Sponsor's Assets and Liabilities. If the sponsor meets all the financial requirements, they do not need to include their assets and liabilities. If they don't, they must add information about assets, balance in checking accounts etc.
  • Part 7: Use of Assets to Supplement Income. This part is a continuation of the one before.
  • Part 8: Sponsor's Contract. Lastly, this is the contract that declares that you are aware of your obligations and responsibilities as a sponsor to the immigrant.

How to Submit an Affidavit of Support

The affidavit of support forms have step-by-step instructions to be completed as mentioned above. USCIS or immigration services recommend filling out the forms on a computer or typewriter. Afterwards, the forms and supporting documents will be submitted with the immigrant's other documents.

Supporting documents

All sponsors must have a copy of their individual federal income tax return, including W-2s for the post recent tax year or a statement and/or evidence describing why they were not required to file. The sponsor should also provide a copy of every Form 1099 and other evidence of reported income. You must also provide documentation that shows you are a US Citizen.

All documentations must be translated in English and include a certification from a translator. Make sure to not send original documents unless they are specifically requested in the form. All these documents will be sent to USCIS to process your case.

Bottom line

Remember that once you submit an affidavit of support you are legally obligated to provide support. If the person you are sponsoring receives any "means-tested public benefits," you are responsible for repaying the cost. You will be responsible for the immigrant until they either become a U.S. citizen or, they are credited with 40 quarters of work (around 10 years), leaves the U.S. permanently or passes away.

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