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Green Card Sponsor Form I-864 Requirements

If you’re applying for a green card, chances are you’re going to need the sponsor Form I-864.

To prove that your sponsor meets all the requirements, you need to submit the Form I-864 along with your application.

According to USCIS, the official purpose of the form is:

“This form is required for most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants to show that they have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support.”

– USCIS.gov

Mistakes made on this form are one of the most common reason why applicants get RFE’s (Request for Evidence) from USCIS. To avoid an RFE, it’s very important to make sure that your sponsor meets all the requirements and that you fill out the form correctly.

Do you know what the requirements are for a sponsor? Are you sponsoring an applicant? This article will provide answers to some of the most common questions about financial sponsors, income requirements, and submitting the right forms.

Scroll to the bottom to learn how to actually fill out the form and attach it to your application.

Most Common Questions About Form I-864

Do I need to attach the Form I-864 to my application?

The Form I-864 should be attached to the application if, the intending immigrant (green card applicant) is:

  • The immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (spouse, unmarried child under 21, or parent of a U.S. citizen 21 or older).
  • A family-based preference immigrant (married or unmarried son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, spouse or unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident, or the brother or sister of a U.S. citizen 21 or older).
  • An employment-based preference immigrant whose immigrant visa petition was filed by a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, U.S. national relative, or such a relative has an ownership interest of 5% or more in the entity that filed your petition.

Form I-864 is supported and included with SimpleCitizen.

Can the I-864 be used for more than one immigrant?

An I-864 must be submitted for each intending immigrant sponsored.

The principle immigrant, the recipient of the immigrant visa petition, may bring a spouse and/or children into the U.S. In such cases, the sponsor need only to photocopy the original I-864 for each dependent if they are based on the same visa petition, as long as they are immigrating at the same time. (Note: The sponsor will not need to provide copies of the supporting documents for each of the photocopied I-864s.)

However, if the principle immigrant’s family is immigrating more than 6 months after the principle immigrant, another Form I-864 will need to be filled out when they apply for their immigrant visas.

Is there a filing fee?

There is no filing fee. However, the National Visa Center (NVC) does send the sponsor a processing fee before the case will be processed.

When do sponsor obligations end?

Sponsor responsibilities end when one of these situations occurs:

  • The immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen.
  • The immigrant can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work in the U.S.
  • The sponsor or the immigrant dies.
  • The immigrant does not remain a lawful permanent resident.

Please note: divorce does not end a sponsor’s responsibilities.

What supporting documents are required with the I-864?

All sponsors must submit a copy of their Federal income tax return for the most recent tax year. If you were not required to file provide a statement and/or evidence of why. Also include every copy of Form 1099, Schedule, and any other evidence of reported income.

If you are:

  • currently self-employed,
  • sponsoring more than one intending immigrant,
  • sponsoring a spouse while on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Coast Guard,
  • using the income of persons in your household or dependents to qualify,
  • joint sponsor, substitute sponsor, or the relative of an employment-based immigrant,
  • or the legal guardian signing the Form I-864

Supporting Document upload & support are included with SimpleCitizen.

you will need to file more supporting documents as proof that you qualify to be a sponsor. These may include a Form I-864A, or papers to establish your income, active military status, residency, lasting employment, assets, status in the U.S., or legal guardianship.

Note: if you make a change of address, you must inform USCIS of your new address within 30 days. If you are a lawful permanent resident sponsor, you must file a change of address within 10 days. To do this file Form I-865.

What are the requirements of being a sponsor?

The sponsor must be 18 years or older and reside in the U.S., its territories, or its possessions.

In order to qualify as a sponsor, the sponsor must also meet certain financial requirements:

Income Requirements:

To qualify as a sponsor, you must show that your annual income is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. These guidelines are updated annually and are calculated according to household size.

Search the USCIS website to see if you qualify. The 2017 guidelines will remain in affect until the 2018 ones are published.

What if my sponsor is on active duty?

If you are on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and are sponsoring a spouse or child under 18, you only need to have an annual income of 100% the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This does not apply to joint or substitute sponsors.

What if a sponsor doesn’t meet the financial requirements?

If a sponsor does not meet the financial requirements the intending immigrant will be ineligible for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status.

However, if the 125% requirement can be met by any combination of the following 4 options, you may still qualify to be a sponsor.

  • The income from any relatives or dependents living in your household currently or listed in your most recent Federal income tax return and who have signed Form I-864A.
  • The income from the intending immigrant, if that income will continue from the same source after they immigrate and they are currently living in your residence. (If the intending immigrant is your spouse, their residence does not matter as long as they continue to receive their income from the same source.)
  • The value of assets yours, the intending immigrants, or any member of the household who has signed the I-864A.
  • The income and/or assets that equal at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines of a joint sponsor.

Can a sponsor use assets to qualify?

If the consular or immigration officer is convinced that the sponsor’s assets could be converted into money within one year, they may be used to supplement the sponsor’s income. However, this conversion must take place without undue harm coming to the sponsor or their dependents. And it cannot include automobiles unless the sponsor owns at least 1 working automobile that was not included as an asset.

What is a joint sponsor?

A joint sponsor is someone who can meet the financial requirements necessary to be a sponsor and is willing to be held jointly liable with the original sponsor, the petitioner, for the support of the intending immigrant(s).

The joint sponsor must be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national domiciled in the U.S., its territories, or its possessions.

The joint sponsor does not have to be related to the petitioner or intending immigrant(s).

If the I-864 being filed by the petitioner includes more than the principle immigrant, the joint sponsor may choose to sponsor all intending immigrants or some of them. A secondary joint sponsor is then necessary to sponsor the remainder of the family. There may be no more than 2 joint sponsors.

Joint Sponsorship is supported by SimpleCitizen.

Can relatives and dependents be a joint sponsor?

A spouse and/or other relative living with the sponsor or unrelated dependents listed on the sponsor’s Federal income tax return even if they don’t live with the sponsor, may help sponsor intending immigrants, if they are willing to be jointly responsible with the sponsor. They must be 18 or older and complete Form I-864A.

Ways To Fill Out Form I-864

Here are a few options available to you for filling out the affidavit of support.

Fill Out On a Computer

Download and view in a PDF viewer.

Download PDF

SimpleCitizen’s Application Builder

Form I-864 is included with SimpleCitizen.

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Print the PDF and fill by hand with black pen.

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Updated on January 15, 2020

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