When a family sponsors or supports an immigrant’s application to live in the US, one of the concerns of the US and the government is that the immigrant not be a burden on the US taxpayer or on the welfare system. To this end, the immigrant’s family need to prove that there are enough resources to support the immigrant while they are in the US. To do this, the sponsor needs to file an affidavit of support.
There are in fact two affidavits which sponsors can file. The Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) and the Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the Act (Form I-864) are similar but are used in slightly different applications. Form I-864 is used to show that the family sponsor can support the immigrant financially. Along with Form I-864, the sponsor must submit proof of income or employment as well as Internal Revenue Service-issued transcripts of a Federal income tax return for the most recent tax year. Additional documentation proving income may also be required.
Form I-134 can be filed free of charge and is also used to show the USCIS that an applicant will not be a burden on the US taxpayer while in the US. A sponsor must complete a Form I-134 for every applicant being sponsored. It is important to sign your full name to Form I-134 and to be very honest when filing this form. Being dishonest on Form I-134 may make you subject to charges of perjury. Where you file will be determined by the type of application being submitted and by the location of the applicant.
Neither The Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) nor the Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the Act (Form I-864) are usually mandatory for a visa, but they can greatly strengthen an applicant’s chances. The US is simply more likely to admit an applicant if there is some guarantee that the applicant will not become a strain on social programs. In order to complete The Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) or the Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the Act (Form I-864), a sponsor will usually need to provide details about finances. For this reason, these affidavits are usually filed by someone who is very close to an applicant – usually a family member. As well, it is important to note that while a sponsor may be tempted to overstate or even to guess financial information when completing these forms, it is essential not to do so. Not only can this result in the rejection of an applicant, it can bring criminal charges against the sponsor.