What is an Affidavit of Support for immigration?
When your family member wants to immigrate to the United States, they need to include an Affidavit of Support along with their green card application.
An Affidavit of Support (Form 1-864) basically obligates you to accept financial responsibility for the green card applicant in the event that they cannot support themselves. This form needs to be submitted even if your family member already has a job lined up or an income of their own and is expected to be self-supporting.
What’s the point of this if my relative can self-support?
The goal is to make sure that the applicant doesn’t inadvertently end up needing government assistance for one reason or another.
It’s important to understand that Form 1-864 is a legally binding contract between you (as your relative’s sponsor) and the U.S. government that obligates you to provide the immigrant you sponsored with financial assistance for up to 10 years or until they become a U.S. citizen. This is true even if the immigrant you sponsor is your spouse and you later divorce.
What if I don’t have enough income to sponsor my relative?
Since you’ll be obligated to provide the person you sponsor enough support to be at 125% or above the federal poverty guidelines, your income will be scrutinized. If you are worried that your income alone won’t meet the financial requirements, you can:
- Include the income of other household members, including a spouse, parents, siblings and adult children (so long as they also sign and submit the appropriate forms)
- Include assets that can be easily liquidated as proof that you would be able to meet your support obligation, if needed.
- Have a joint sponsor file with you. Joint sponsors do not have to be related to you or the person you want to sponsor.
The Affidavit of Support is one of the most confusing things people encounter when they’re applying for family-based immigration, simply because it is so complex. That’s why it’s wisest to have experienced legal guidance as you work through the paperwork.