Temporary visitors to the US and intending immigrants need to prove that they will not become a public charge. Becoming a public charge is one of the grounds of inadmissibility and USCIS needs persons to prove that they will not become financially dependent on the government. If a situation arises that the beneficiary needs financial support, it is the duty of the Sponsor who filed the Affidavit of Support to provide the support.
There are two different Affidavit of Support forms provided by the USCIS and both these forms are used by different categories of people. The two forms are Form I-134 and Form I-864. Form I-134 is used by non-immigrants and Form I-864 is used by persons seeking permanent residence in the U.S.
Form I-134, Affidavit of Support
Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that a person likely to become a public charge is inadmissible to the United States. Form I-134 is used by non-immigrants to prove that they will not become a public charge.
For instance, a person applying for a B-2 visa to visit the U.S. for tourism purposes needs to file Form I-134 to prove that they have sufficient financial resources to take of themselves for the duration of their stay in the U.S. Or, if a person is visiting extended family in the U.S., and does not have adequate resources, then they can have their U.S. family member sign the affidavit on their behalf. Persons applying for the K-1 visa will need the Form I-134 signed by their U.S. citizen fiance(e).
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act
Most family-based immigrants and certain employment-based immigrants need to file Form I-864 to show that they have sufficient financial resources and that they are not going to become a public charge.
Form I-864 acts as a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government and is effective until the beneficiary is credited with 40 quarters of work in the U.S. or becomes a citizen of the U.S.
Persons falling under one of the following categories need to file Form I-864:
1. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens
- Children under the age of 21
- Parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 or above
2.Other family-based preference categories:
- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Spouses of permanent residents
- Unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens aged 21 or above.
3. Employment-based immigrants
Only those employment-based immigrants whose sponsors are relatives who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents or where the relative has a significant ownership interest (5% or more) in the business/corporation/organization that filed the petition.
Exceptions to filing Form I-864
Certain persons belonging to one of the above categories may be exempted from filing the affidavit if:
- they have 40 quarters of work in the U.S. Persons can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) for more information regarding their qualifying credits. (http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement/)
- he/she will acquire citizenship under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. (That is, if he/she is a foreign born biological or adopted child of a U.S. citizen and did not become a citizen at birth.)
- they are a self-petitioning widow or widower with an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
- they are a self-petitioning battered spouse or child with an approved Form I-360,
Note: Persons qualifying for an exemption need to file Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s I-864 Exemption and not Form I-864.