The Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency is used by USCIS to determine if someone is likely to become a public charge in the U.S.
This form requires a lot of financial, family, and health information and therefore requires a lot of documents. This article will go through the different sections and outline the required documents based on your situation.
The form I-944 form can be pretty complicated. SimpleCitizen is here to simplify the process for you. Click here to get started on your application, with form I-944 form included.
Family Size (Your Household)
You are required to add proof of your relationship to your household members. This is not required if the evidence has already been added to the I-485, such as marriage and birth certificates. Evidence should be added for all other family members for whom evidence has not yet been added.
For example, a family of four including a U.S. citizen father with two children and his immigrant spouse, you would include the two step-children’s birth certificates showing the name of their U.S. citizen father. If there is no clear evidence of a relationship you should instead submit a signed statement from the household member or their legal guardian.
Proof of all family members’ income needs to be attached to the form I-944. The amount should be reflected on their most recent tax return. Federal Tax Returns are not sufficient. USCIS is requiring IRS Federal Tax Transcript for each Household Member whose income has been added. If a transcript was already provided with form I-864 it does not need to be added again with the I-944. Make sure that you are submitting the Federal Tax Transcript and not the W-2 and Wage Statement.
The IRS Tax Transcript can be requested at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript . Due to tight security measures, some people may be unable to access their IRS Tax Transcript electronically. In this case they can file the form 4506-T with the IRS to request a paper version be mailed. Typically, the timeline for receiving the tax transcript in this way takes between 3 to 6 weeks.
In addition, you should provide employment letters for all household members whose income was added and who is currently employed. The letter should be on company letterhead and be issued by the employer’s HR department or the employee’s direct manager. It should include:
- Their position at the company.
- The date they started the job.
- Their annual salary (if the work is part-time or hourly, the letter should have the hourly rate and average weekly hours)
In addition to household income, form I-944 requires you to add any assets. You should add assets if your household income is less than 125% of the poverty line. 100% if you are on active duty or in U.S. Armed Forces.
Assets must have a value of five times the difference between your household’s adjusted gross income and the poverty guideline for your household size. These assets must be able to easily be converted into cash within 12 months. Exceptions to this amount are outlined on form I-944 Instructions:
- Spouses or children of a U.S. citizen are only required to show that the value of the asset is three times the difference between your household’s annual gross income and 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for your household size.
- An orphan who will be adopted in the United States after you acquire permanent residence (or your parents will seek a formal recognition of the adoption abroad) and you will acquire citizenship under INA 320: You have to show that the value of your assets exceeds the difference between your household’s annual gross income and 125%* of the Federal Poverty Guideline for your household size.
There are multiple things that can be added to your I-944 as assets and each will require different evidence.
Types of Assets
Properties: Multiple supporting documents are required for property owned. They include:
1. Documentation showing ownership
2. A recent appraisal by a licensed appraiser. A property value comparison or an estimate from an online site will not be sufficient.
3. Evidence of the amount of all loans secured by a mortgage, trust deed, or other lien on the home.
Here’s an example: Applicant owns a home which has been appraised for a value of $315,000. Applicant has a mortgage for this property and owes $150,000. They have no other loans or liens on the property. That means that the Applicant has $165,000 in assets from this property. To use this for form I-944, the Applicant should include their deed showing ownership, the recent appraisal that was done, and the most recent mortgage statement.
Bank accounts: If you would like to add cash in a checking or savings account, you must include 12 months of statements from that account. These statements should show that the average balance has been maintained over that year. If multiple accounts are being added, make sure to add statements from each account.
Stocks or bonds: Just like with bank accounts, the statements must show that the U.S. dollar amount has been maintained for at least 12 months.
Retirement accounts: If adding a retirement account you should also include 12 months of the statements for that account.
Car: A car can only be added if the individual adding the car has more than one vehicle and at least one is not listed as an asset. If a car is being added required evidence is:
- Documentation showing ownership
- Statement of its cash value. This can be done by finding the Kelley Blue Book of the vehicle.
These are the most commonly added assets, but any other substantial assets that can be easily converted into cash can be added. Make sure to add proof of ownership and proof of the asset’s worth.
Liabilities & Debts
USCIS requires documentation for all liabilities and debts for the immigrant beneficiary. The most common liabilities and debts are mortgages, car loans, education related loans, credit card debt, personal loans, unpaid taxes, unpaid child support, or liens. For many of these documents you can add the most recent statement (from the previous month) showing how much is owed.
Credit Report & Score
What you provide in this section will depend on if you have a credit score in the US or not. If you do, you must provide a credit report from one of the nationwide credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This credit report must be from within the last 12 months. You are able to access that report for free through the government website https://www.usa.gov/credit-reports.
If you do not have a credit report or credit score, provide documentation that demonstrates that you do not have a credit report or score with a credit bureau. One example is a statement from one of the credit bureaus stating that they were unable to find a score for you. In addition, you may provide evidence of continued payment of bills.
If it is available, a notice of the resolution of bankruptcy should be added for any bankruptcy. This can typically be obtained from the court where the resolution took place.
Evidence required for health insurance depends on your situation. See the requirements below:
- Yes, I have health insurance
If you have health insurance you must provide one of three things. You must provide either a copy of each policy page showing terms and type of coverage and who is covered, a letter on the insurance company’s letterhead stating you are insured and outlining terms and type of coverage, or The latest form 1095-B, Health Coverage; form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage (if available) with evidence of renewal of coverage for the current year. In addition, you must provide documentation of the amount of deductible or premium and when the policy ends and must be renewed. If this information is not included in your policy you should request a letter from your insurance company with this information.
- Yes, I have health insurance but coverage has not yet started.
You will need to get a letter from your insurance company that shows that you have enrolled in or have an enrollment date with them. This letter should include the terms and type of service, provide a letter or other evidence from the insurance company showing that you have enrolled in or have a future enrollment date for a health insurance plan. The letter or other evidence must include the terms, the type of coverage, that you are the individual covered, and the date when the coverage begins.
- No, I do not have health insurance but will soon.
Provide a written statement showing how you plan to cover reasonable foreseeable medical costs and details on when you plan on enrolling in health insurance.
- No, I do not have health insurance.
Provide a written statement showing how you plan to cover reasonable foreseeable medical costs. If you plan on using assets as proof of your ability to pay for medical costs that documentation should be added if not previously added in the assets section. In addition, you may add a letter from your treating physician about your medical conditions and if those conditions will inhibit your ability to work or study.
Health Insurance Tax Credit
If you have received a tax credit (Premium Tax Credit or Advanced Premium Tax Credit) you will need to upload evidence of the applicant’s health insurance tax credit. You should add a copy of IRS Form 8963 Report of Health Insurance Provider Information, Form 8962 Premium Tax Credit (PTC), and a copy of Form 1095A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.
USCIS is asking for information not only about if you have received public benefits, but if you have ever dis-enrolled from or withdrawn an application for public benefits. Here is what you will need depending on various situations:
- If you have applied for, are currently receiving, previously received, or are certified to receive:
Provide a letter, notice, certification, or agency document with: 1. Your name; 2. Name and contact information for the public benefit-granting agency; 3. Type of public benefit; 4. Date you were authorized to start receiving the benefit or date your coverage starts; and 5. Date benefit or coverage ended or expires (mm/dd/yyyy) (if applicable).
- If disenrolled:
Provide evidence of your dis-enrollment or your request to dis-enroll if the public benefit granting agency has not processed your request.
- If you withdraw an application:
Provide evidence demonstrating that the public benefit granting agency received your request to withdraw the application.
- If you have never applied for public benefits:
No documentation is needed to prove you have never applied for public benefits.
Evidence of Skills & Education
You will need to add evidence of the applicant’s skills and education that are added on form I-944. This evidence should include degrees and certifications received such as transcripts, diplomas, and trade profession certificates.
You must provide evidence of any training, licenses for specific occupations or professions, and certificates documenting mastery or apprenticeships in skilled trades or professions. if this evidence is unavailable, you should provide an explanation and, if possible, evidence of unavailability such as a letter from the issuing institution.
English & Other Language Skills
Native English speakers, or other languages if applicable, must provide documentation of language proficiency including language certifications.
For any language skills you can include:
- Language certifications
- High school transcripts showing courses showing that language was studied for credit
- College transcript/diploma showing that language was studied for credit
Different types of retirement income are paid out differently. Some retirement payments are issued on a monthly basis while others are issued annually. If you are receiving payments monthly you should add 12 months of statements or if you receive it annually you should add the yearly statement from the government.
Documents that should be provided are the following, if applicable:
- Pension statements
- Social security statements
- Statements or evidence of other retirement benefits
The form I-944 asks for a lot of information and requires a lot of documentation and this can add to the stress of the immigration process.
At SimpleCitizen, we handle many of these cases daily and know how to best prepare an application. Our team of experts, along with our partner immigration law firms can ensure that your application is well taken care of.
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