Form I-134, Explained
Understanding the declaration of financial support for a visa applicant
What Is Form I-134?
Form I-134 (officially called the “Declaration of Financial Support”) is a form filled out by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident promising to financially support a travel or K-1 fiancé visa applicant during their time in the United States. This is different than the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), which promises financial support as a green card sponsor.
One of the most significant hurdles to coming to the United States is showing self-sufficiency and that you have enough funds for your stay. U.S. immigration authorities carefully scrutinize applications to see whether there’s any risk of a person becoming a “public charge.” This means that a person does not have sufficient funds for their stay, will run out of money, and that they may then become dependent on government help.
During the visa application process, you will be asked to show proof of financial means for your stay in the United States. If your application shows large bank balances or investment accounts with enough funds for the duration of your stay, then that usually is enough. However, not everyone has large bank account balances or multiple assets. In that case, you have the option to include Form I-134 showing that someone in the United States will financially support you during your stay.
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Form I-134 Requirements
The requirements to be a Form I-134 sponsor are:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
- You must be able to meet 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines income level for your household size. Essentially, you can only sponsor someone if you meet the income level required for that household size.
- Be willing to financially support the person or people you are sponsoring if they require it.
- Be willing to have your finances and tax returns scrutinized by U.S. federal immigration officials.
At this stage, you might be thinking that this sounds very similar to Form I-864, which is filed by family members for green card applicants, and you’d be correct, except that Form I-134 is for applicants coming on temporary visas to the United States.
Form I-134 is used when a U.S. citizen or green card holder agrees to become a financial sponsor of a travel visa or a K1 and K2 visa. In effect, instead of the applicant having to prove they have enough money for their stay in the United States, the sponsor steps in and says that they will be the applicant’s financial support.
The sponsor then fills out Form I-134, provides proof of their ability to financially support the applicant, and signs the document.
Form I-134 Process
You do not need to attend an interview or to have your biometrics taken with this form. But it does require evidence of your finances.
Typically, the visa applicant will already be finalizing their paperwork for the U.S. Embassy or consulate, so this form becomes one of the last steps in their visa journey. However, it can be prepared at any time, and earlier is often better to ensure you have all the required documents in place.
The sponsor will need to provide the following information:
- Personal details of the sponsor, including address and Social Security number
- Proof of your U.S. citizenship or green card status
- Information about the visa applicant referred to on this form as the “beneficiary.” This will include address, nationality, and spousal information.
- The sponsor’s employment and financial information, including their income and financial assets.
- The sponsor’s dependent and marital situation. This information will be used to see whether they meet 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines requirements for their household size.
- A page that the sponsor signs promising to support the beneficiaries of this form.
- If you had an interpreter or help from a preparer, such as a lawyer, they will need to fill some fields out.
For proof of financial assets, you need to submit photocopies of the following documents, if applicable:
- A signed statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institution that states when you opened an account, the total amount deposited for the past year, and the present balance of such account.
- A signed statement from your employer on business letterhead that states the date and nature of your employment, salary paid, and whether the position is temporary or permanent.
- A copy of your last U.S. federal income tax return, or a report of commercial rating concern (if self-employed).
- A list containing the serial numbers and denominations of bonds and names of the owners (if applicable).
These documents must be in English or include a full English translation along with a certification from the translator verifying that the translation is complete and accurate and that they are competent to translate from the foreign language to English.
Once the applicant submits their visa application, your information will be reviewed along with the application, and if necessary, USCIS will contact the applicant for further evidence or clarification.
Starting January 29, 2024, USCIS will only accept the 11/09/2023 edition of Form I-134. Make sure to check USCIS instructions and the form for the edition date before filing.
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Form I-134 Vs. Form I-864
What is the difference between Form I-134 and Form I-864?
Form I-134 is a promise to financially support a person applying for a temporary visa to the United States, namely a travel visa or a K-1 fiancé visa.
Form I-864 is a promise to financially support a person applying for a green card in order to live in the United States permanently.
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No. For green card applicants, Form I-864 is required and has some key differences, including that you must meet 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
No. As long as they are a green card holder or U.S. citizen, the sponsor can be unrelated to the applicant. They only have to be willing to support them and share financial information.
There is no application fee for Form I-134.
Form I-134A (officially called the “Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support”) is a promise to financially support a Ukrainian or their spouse, parent, or child as part of the Uniting for Ukraine program, or a Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan migrant and their immediate relatives. You must not file Form I-134 if you are a sponsor of a person under either of these programs. You can learn more about Form I-134A in Boundless’ guide.
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