Persons planning to come to live and work in the U.S. permanently or those planning a temporary visit to the U.S. have to fulfill a lot of eligibility requirements. One of the most important requirement is for them to establish that they will not become a “public charge’. “Public charge” is defined by the USCIS as an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” Public charge is one of the grounds of inadmissibility.
People coming the U.S. temporarily or as immigrants need to prove that they will not become public charges. Towards this end they need to file Affidavits of Support to establish their ability to support themselves or to show that their sponsor will support them till required.
Affidavit of Support Form I-134
To abide by the immigration law that states that a person likely to become a public charge is admissible in the U.S., the applicant has to file Form I-134. This form proves that the applicant has sufficient financial ability to take care of himself without having to depend on the government for any aid. Form I-134 is generally filed by nonimmigrants.
Person’s entering on a fiancé(e) visa will need to get their U.S. citizen sponsor to sign the Form I-134. Nonimmigrants on visas like the B-1 or B-2 need to submit this form to show they are self-sufficient and will not depend on the government for any financial assistance during their stay in the U.S. Persons who and not financially stable but have relatives in the U.S. who can take care of their needs, can have their relatives sign this affidavit of support on their behalf.
Affidavit of Support Form I-864
Affidavit of Support Form I-864 has to be filed by family-based immigration applicants and some of the employment based green card applicants to show that they will not become a public charge. The green card sponsor has to sign this affidavit of support Form I-864 and this is as a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government. This contract effective until the immigrant has acquired 40 quarters of work in the U.S. or has become citizen of the U.S.
Form I-864 – Who has to file?
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act has to be filed by:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- U.S. citizens’ children under the age of 21
- Parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 or above
- Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Spouses of permanent residents
- Unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens aged 21 or above.
- Sponsor of an employment based immigrant, where the sponsor is a relative and is a U.S. citizen or permanent residents or where the relative has a significant ownership interest (5% or more) in the business/corporation/organization that filed the petition.
Filing Form I-864 – Who is exempted?
A person belongs to one of the above categories AND
- has 40 quarters of work in the U.S. need not file the I-864. The Social Security Administration (SSA) may be contacted for more information regarding their qualifying credits. (http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement/) OR
- will acquire citizenship under Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act OR
- is a self-petitioning widow or widower with an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant OR
- is a self-petitioning battered spouse or child with an approved Form I-360
is exempt from filing the affidavit of support Form I-864.
Note: Applicants who qualify for an exemption need to file Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s I-864 Exemption.