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The United States requires immigrants to be able to support themselves. Most of the time, a sponsor is required to provide that support. The help of a US citizen (namely a family member) and the USCIS office is integral. The sponsorship approval takes shape through Form I-864P.
Do you need to complete this form or don't know what it entails? Read on to learn more.
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Form I-864P: An Overview
Form I-864P is a form filed by a sponsor on behalf of an immigrant or family of immigrants. The other name for it is the Affidavit of Support.
The form for sponsorship demonstrates the immigrant will have a means of financial support. It is also an official contract between the sponsor and the government of the USA.
The purposes of this document are to:
Let the sponsor take up official responsibility of the immigrant(s) and
Prove to the U.S. Government that the immigrant and their family will not become public charges.
It is the responsibility of the sponsor to complete Form I-864P on behalf of the immigrant(s). Individuals must meet several criteria to qualify to be a sponsor.
These criteria include the following:
Must be a citizen of the U.S. or, if not, a U.S. national or lawful permanent resident with Green Cards
Must be eighteen years of age or older
Must be a resident of the U.S. (those who live abroad must prove that the residency abroad is not permanent)
The sponsor's income must also meet specific requirements, regardless of if they are the sole sponsor or if they file for sponsorship jointly with another individual.
The sponsor's income must be at or above 125% of the federal poverty guidelines for the size of their household.
"Household size" refers to the sponsor, their dependents, relatives living in the same home, and the immigrant for whom the sponsor is filing. It's important to take note of household size for many forms.
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How to Calculate Sponsor Income
The person filing the form can calculate the sponsor's income just as they would with a tax return.
Possible types of income include:
- Retirement benefits
- Child support
- Interest and dividends
- Other types of income (e.g., 1099)
You also can include members living in the same household, such as parents, siblings, and children.
The income of the immigrant may factor into the total household income as well. Joint sponsors must meet the financial income requirements themselves alone and cannot include the other sponsor's income.
The cash value of assets can be an addition to the earned income as well. Assets include money in savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and property.
However, there are certain rules:
If the sponsored person is a spouse or child of a United States citizen: The asset value must be equal to or more than three times the difference between the 125% income requirement and the determined income without cash assets. For example, if the poverty line is $26,200, and the yearly income is $30,000, the total value of the cash assets must be equal to $8,250.
3 x [1.25 (poverty line) - annual household income] = minimum cash asset value
If the sponsored person is a relation other than the above: This asset value must be equal to five times the difference between the 125% income requirement and the determined income without cash assets. For example, if the poverty guidelines aredetermined to be $26,200, and the yearly household income is $30,000, the total value of the cash assets must be equal to $13,750.
5 x [1.25 (poverty line) - annual household income] = minimum cash asset value
The only exception to the 125% rule is if the sponsor is serving active duty for the Armed Forces of the United States. Then, the sponsor need only be equal to or greater than 100% of the USA poverty guidelines for the household size.
Joint and Substitute Sponsors
Joint sponsors are those who accept legal responsibility for supporting the immigrant, along with the main sponsor. These joint sponsors must meet all requirements of the main sponsor, but the immigrant must be related to or family. The immigrant need not be the relation of both sponsors.
The joint sponsor must also meet the 125% income requirement alone. Income from both sponsors cannot combine to meet the income requirements to be a sponsor.
Substitute sponsors come into play when the original sponsor or visa petitioner has passed away post-approval of I-864P. The substitute sponsor must file a new form in place of the deceased sponsor.
The substitute sponsor needs to meet the following (different) requirements:
- Must be a spouse, parent or parent-in-law, sibling or sibling-in-law, child or child-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or legal guardian
- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be a U.S. resident
- Must satisfy all financial requirements of a sponsor
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Information for Immigrants
The immigrant needs to have a specific relation to the sponsor to file I-864P. In the case of the family relation, the immigrant must be one of the following relations to the sponsor:
- A fiance or spouse
- Orphaned relative
For non-blood or family relations, the sponsor can file for an immigrant worker for a business of which the sponsor has at least five percent ownership.
There are four tiers of preference that can vary the time needed to obtain immigrant visas:
The first preference (fastest return) is for unmarried adult children (21+ years of age) of USA citizens.
The second preference is for spouses of U.S. citizens and their unmarried children (any age).
The third preference is for USA citizens' married children and their single children under the age of 21.
The fourth preference is for siblings of adult USA citizens, their spouses, and their single children under the age of 21.
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When Not to Submit Form I-864P
There are a few reasons why a sponsor would not need to complete the Affidavit of Support.
An immigrant does not need to complete and submit Form I-864P if they have already worked the 40 quarters of work required as outlined in the Social Security Act. They are also exempt if the immigrant is a child of a United States citizen and received admittance for permanent residence via Green Card after the date of 02-27-2001.
Also, immigrants who have approved Form I-360 and are a) either self-petitioning widow(er)s or b) battered spouses or children do not need to complete the form.
Orphans adopted by U.S. citizens do not need to complete the form if the adoption goes through before the orphan becomes a permanent resident with a Green Card.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When does the sponsorship end?
A sponsor has the responsibility of support either until the immigrant(s) become:
the immigrant has completed 40 quarters of work (about ten years).
The sponsorship may also end if the sponsor passes away before either of the previous two events occur. In such a situation, a substitute sponsor needs to take the deceased sponsor's place.
Where can I find the poverty guidelines?
Up-to-date poverty guidelines are on the USCIS website. The guidelines in effect on the filing date of the form will determine eligibility.
Does Form I-864P expire if there is a delay in the immigrant's citizenship interview?
No. The form is valid indefinitely from the date signed by the sponsor.
Where does one complete Form I-864P?
The form I-864P is available on the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Many other forms are necessary for immigrants and sponsors, so the USCIC site includes plenty of more frequently asked questions to help individuals know what else to complete and submit.
Where can one find further assistance with completing the I-864P?
The USCIC site has plenty of resources to help individuals complete all necessary forms. We can also assist with finances, planning, and management.
Naturalization and immigrant visas are a difficult valley to trudge through. To gain permanent resident status as a Green Card holder and fend off deportation, knowing immigration law is integral to your visitor visa immigration status as an alien. Consulars are always there to help at the USCIS, as are we.