What is Form I-130?
When a U.S. citizen or permanent resident wants to help a family member immigrate to the U.S, they must file USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The purpose of the form is to establish that
- the petitioner and the beneficiary of the petition are related and
- the relationship makes the beneficiary eligible for that sponsorship.
While detailed instructions for Form I-130 list the many types of evidence that USCIS requires to establish a valid family relationship, some personal situations can be more difficult than others to document. Especially in those cases, a letter written as an Affidavit of Support can serve as crucial evidence to be included in the USCIS review process.
What is an I-130 Affidavit of Support?
Anyone can write an Affidavit of Support as long as he or she
- knows the petitioner and beneficiary well and
- can vouch that the relationship is genuine, valid and bona fide.
Many times, couples request that landlords, authority figures, family members or close friends write an Affidavit of Support to provide evidence that the marriage is a valid relationship. However, Affidavits of Support can also accompany I-130 submission packets to help establish the validity of any of the qualifying familial relationships.
Are Affidavits of Support required for Form I-130?
Affidavits of Support are essential if other required documents are not available. In those cases, USCIS requires at least two written statements that can serve to authenticate the event or relationship in question.
Affidavit of Support Sample for Form I-130
Affidavits of Support use a business letter format to ensure that each piece of needed information is included and easily referenced. The person writing the Affidavit of Support is known as the affiant.
Affiant’s Full Name
Affiant’s Mailing Address
Affiant’s City, State and Zip Code
Date of Affidavit of Support
Address of USCIS Office
Receiving I-130 Packet
Subject: Affidavit of Support for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
Full Name of Applicant and Full Name of Beneficiary
In the first paragraph, the affiant, or writer, should state their own identifying information. USCIS requires the affiant’s full name, date of birth, place of birth and current address. Affiants may also choose to supply a phone number where they can be reached if USCIS needs additional clarification of any of the information included in the Affidavit of Support.
In the second paragraph, the affiant should explain how they know the individuals listed on the Form I-130, the applicant and the beneficiary. This paragraph should provide information that indicates
- how close the writer is to the applicant and beneficiary,
- how long they have known the applicant and beneficiary, and
- how often they currently interact with the applicant or beneficiary or interacted with them in the past.
In reading this information, USCIS officials will be evaluating whether the writer is a reliable witness with valid facts able to authenticate the particular event or relationship in question.
The third paragraph should detail any particular events, incidents or anecdotes that the writer can supply as evidence of an event’s occurrence or a relationship’s genuine nature. If the writer has numerous facts to offer, each fact can appear as its own paragraph or as a part of a list, for example:
- To prove a bona fide spousal relationship, a clergy person may list events that they witnessed the couple attend together and describe their interactions with one another as well as others.
- To prove a parental relationship for a child born out of wedlock, a family member or friend may recount incidents when they witnessed the parent pay for certain expenses for the child, care for them when healthy or ill, or otherwise provide support expected of a parent.
- To establish an event like a birth or death, a doctor, family member or friend may document their knowledge of its full details and circumstances. This would include dates, times, locations, the names of other possible witnesses and any other relevant facts.
The length of the letter depends solely on the amount of pertinent information the writer is able to offer. All information must be factual, accurate and the truth as the writer believes it to be because the final paragraph should be a statement swearing to the accuracy of the information provided.
USCIS strongly recommends including the following closing statement: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.”
Affiant’s Full Name
Date of Signature Before a Notary
Witness’ Full Name
Date of Witnessed Signature
Notary’s Signature and Seal
Notary’s Full Name
Date of Notarization
Should Affidavits of Support be notarized?
USCIS does not specifically require that Affidavits of Support be notarized. However, a notary seal confirms the identity of the person who signs the affidavit and who thereby swears to the authenticity of the information it contains. If a writer intends to have the Affidavit of Support notarized, the writer should wait to sign the affidavit until their signature can be witnessed in the notary’s presence.