What is an Affidavit of Support?
The “Affidavit of Support” is a signed document to accept financial responsibility for a spouse who is seeking a green card. It is also known as U.S. Immigration Form I-864.
For simplicity, we’ll call the person signing this Affidavit of Support the “financial sponsor.” This is usually (but not always) the same person as the sponsoring spouse.
Boundless has prepared a detailed article on the income requirements for a financial sponsor. Here is a short summary:
- The financial sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. green card holder, at least 18 years old, and living in the United States.
- The financial sponsor must have an annual income that is at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The more people there are in your household, the higher your income will need to be to meet the requirements.
- The financial sponsor can also use assets (not just income) to meet these requirements. Assets include cash, stocks and bonds, and property (for example, a home).
- It is possible to have a household member or even a non-family member help meet the income or asset requirements, if the sponsoring spouse does not meet them alone.
- The spouse seeking the green card (the “beneficiary”) may also use his or her own income to meet the financial requirements, but only as long as this income will continue from the same source after the green card is obtained.
The Affidavit of Support is essentially a contract between the financial sponsor and the U.S. government. The government has the right to recover from the financial sponsor any public benefits (such as food stamps or Medicaid) that the spouse seeking a green card uses after he or she obtains a green card.
The financial sponsor’s obligations under the Affidavit of Support end only when one of four things happen:
- The death of either spouse.
- The spouse seeking a green card becomes a U.S. citizen.
- The spouse seeking a green card has worked for 40 quarters in the United States.
- The spouse seeking a green card moves out of the United States permanently.
If you have been a financial sponsor for others in the past (either as the primary sponsor or as a secondary co-sponsor), everyone you sponsored in the past will need to be counted as you get ready to file a new Affidavit of Support—unless one of the events mentioned above has happened and your obligations to that person have ended.