Should I fill it out? Does my financial sponsor fill out? Does it matter?
With all the different immigration forms out there, it’s easy to get confused. Here’s a simple overview of what Form I-864 is, why it’s important, and who needs to fill it out.
What’s the purpose of Form I-864?
Form I-864 is basically used to prove that an immigrant or immigrant family has access to someone who will support them financially (a sponsor) so that the U.S. government won’t have to step in and provide financial assistance.
So who fills it out?
Your sponsor. He or she should fill out the form and sign it in black ink. Once it’s filled out, it’s your responsibility as the immigrant to submit the form along with the required evidence of your sponsor’s income, such as a copy of his or her Federal income tax return. For more information on what financial evidence your sponsor needs to include, check out the last page of these instructions.
If you’re immigrating with your family, you should submit a copy of Form I-864 for each of your family members (although only the principal immigrant needs to submit evidence of your sponsor’s income).
Who should my sponsor be?
In most cases, the relative filing for your immigration should be your sponsor. Your sponsor must demonstrate that his or her income is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for his or her household size (or 100% in some cases, like if your sponsor is on active duty in the military or sponsoring a spouse or minor child).
If your sponsor’s income isn’t enough, he or she can count the income of his or her spouse and other relatives living in their same residence if they are willing to be be jointly responsible for your support. Income of dependents listed on your sponsor’s Federal income tax return can also be included, even if they don’t live with your sponsor. In both of these cases, the people involved need to complete and submit Form I-864A. Under certain conditions, the immigrant’s income can also be counted.
If your sponsor and his or her household can’t meet the financial requirements on their own, another person has to sign as a joint sponsor. Joint sponsors don’t have to be related to your primary sponsor, but they do have to be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national. Joint sponsors have to make enough money to support you all on their own, without having to combine their income with the primary sponsor. If you’re immigrating as a family, and one joint sponsor can’t support your whole family, a second joint sponsor can sign for the rest of your group. Each sponsor has to fill out and sign a copy of Form I-864.
If the person who filed your visa petition has died, a substitute sponsor can sign instead. Substitute sponsors must be related to the immigrant, and they have to be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national. Substitute sponsors also need to include a written statement to explain what happened and a copy of the Form I-130 approval notice.
What information does my sponsor need to include?
Along with basic personal information about both sponsor and immigrants, Form I-864 will ask your sponsor about their employment, income, and tax information. The form also has a space for sponsors to list their assets–this is important if your sponsor’s household income doesn’t meet the Federal Poverty Guidelines, because assets can be used to supplement your sponsor’s income. Finally, the form will outline the terms of the Sponsor’s Contract and ask your sponsor for his or her signature.
Am I required to submit Form I-864?
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, immigrants who fall into one of the following categories MUST submit Form I-864:
- Immediate family members of U.S. citizens (this includes spouses, unmarried children under age 21, and parents of U.S. citizens over age 21)
- All family-based preference immigrants (married and unmarried children of U.S. citizens, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens over age 21, spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents)
- Employment-based preference immigrants ONLY when a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national relative was the one who filed the immigrant visa petition, or such a relative has at least 5% ownership interest in the entity or company that filed the petition.
The following immigrants are EXEMPT from Form I-864:
- Immigrants who have earned or received credit for at least 40 quarters of work in the U.S. (this usually equates to ten years of work. You might be able to receive credit for your spouse’s work, or your parents’ work while you were under age 18. See the Social Security Administration website for more details)
- Immigrants who will become U.S. citizens upon entering the country based on section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
- Self-petitioning widows, widowers, and battered spouses and children who have an approved Form I-360 (For more information on what constitutes battery and whether you qualify, click here)
If you fall into one of these categories and are exempt from Form I-864, you’ll need to submit Form I-864W (Request for Exemption for Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support) instead.
What will submitting Form I-864 mean for me?
If your sponsor signs Form I-864, he or she is agreeing to help you maintain an income that’s at least 125% of the poverty guidelines for your household size. If your sponsor doesn’t give you that aid, you have the right to sue him or her to receive the support you need.
Your sponsor’s obligation to you ends if you become a U.S. citizen, accumulate 40 qualifying quarters of work, cease to be a lawful permanent resident, or if you die. Divorce does NOT relieve your sponsor of his or her obligations.
Because your sponsor is agreeing to support you, you may not qualify for certain types of local, state, or federal aid. You can still qualify for some benefits, though, including emergency Medicaid, school lunch programs, and immunization and treatment for communicable diseases.
Form I-864 is included with SimpleCitizen’s application builder. You can start an application here.
Hello @HectorDRogers, it doesn’t matter who fills out the I-864, but the signature does matter. Your sponsor must be the one to sign the form. Let us know if you have other questions!
What if the petitioner wont provide the form but the other sponsor can give it is ok?