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.
Not sure if you qualify for a marriage-based green card based on your income? You can check your eligibility through Boundless without providing any personal information. When you’re ready to apply, Boundless can guide you through every milestone of the green card process, starting with your Form I-130 all the way to the finish line. Learn more, or get started today.
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.
Do you meet the qualifications for financial sponsorship? You can check your eligibility through Boundless. For the flat rate of $950, Boundless helps you complete your entire marriage-based green card (spousal visa) application — including all required forms and supporting documents, independent attorney review, and support — from the moment your application is filed until you receive your green card. Learn more, or start your application.
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 certain public benefits (such as Supplemental Insurance Income, or SSI, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF) used by their spouse after obtaining a green card. (See the USCIS website for a list of public benefits that must be repaid — “Benefits Subject to Public Charge Consideration” — and those that need not be repaid.)
IMPORTANT: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed changes to the rules that determine who can receive a green card or other visa, by redefining what makes a person dependent on public benefits (or likely to be in the future). (See our detailed guide to “Public Charge” to learn more.)
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.
With Boundless, you get the peace of mind that comes with having an independent immigration attorney who answers your confidential questions and reviews your entire green card application — for no additional fee. Ready to start? Learn more about what you get with Boundless, or check your eligibility now.