Form I-864 and Joint Sponsors: What You Need to Know to Support an Immigrant’s Journey

Under what circumstances do immigrants need a joint sponsor?

Immigrants typically need a joint sponsor when they are unable to meet the financial requirements of the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) on their own. The Affidavit of Support is a legal document required for most family-based and some employment-based immigrants to demonstrate that they will not become a public burden in the United States and that they have sufficient financial support.

Here are some circumstances under which immigrants might need a joint sponsor:

  • Insufficient Income: If the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsoring the immigrant) does not meet the minimum income requirements set by the U.S. government for the immigrant’s household size, a joint sponsor can step in to provide additional financial support.
  • Unemployment or Low Income: If the petitioner has recently become unemployed or has a low income that falls below the required threshold, a joint sponsor with a higher income can help ensure that the financial requirements are met.
  • Self-Employment or Irregular Income: Sometimes, self-employed individuals or those with irregular income patterns might struggle to demonstrate consistent earnings. In such cases, a joint sponsor with stable income can supplement the financial support.
  • Sufficient Income but Not a U.S. Resident or Citizen: If the petitioner does not have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, they cannot sponsor an immigrant directly. In these cases, a joint sponsor who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident can fulfill the financial obligation.
  • Multiple Immigrants: If there are multiple immigrants being sponsored within the same household, the combined income of the petitioner and joint sponsor(s) might be necessary to meet the income requirements for all immigrants.
  • Public Charge Concerns: If there are concerns that the immigrant might become a public charge (relying on government assistance), a joint sponsor can provide additional assurance of financial support to overcome these concerns.

It’s important to note that the joint sponsor assumes a legally binding responsibility to financially support the immigrant in question. The joint sponsor’s income and assets are included in the Affidavit of Support to ensure that the immigrant has access to the necessary financial resources.

If you are considering being a joint sponsor or are an immigrant who might need a joint sponsor, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or legal expert to fully understand the requirements and implications of this arrangement.

Joint sponsor checklist of documents

When acting as a joint sponsor for an immigrant’s Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), you will need to provide various documents to demonstrate your financial ability to support the immigrant. The following is a checklist of documents that you might need as a joint sponsor:

  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): You need to complete and sign the Affidavit of Support form, providing accurate and truthful information about your income, assets, and household size.
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency: Provide evidence of your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency status. This could include a copy of your U.S. passport, birth certificate, Certificate of Citizenship, or Green Card.
  • Proof of Income:
    • Recent Federal Income Tax Returns: Include copies of your most recent federal income tax returns (Form 1040) with all schedules and attachments.
    • W-2 Forms: Attach copies of your W-2 forms for the most recent tax year to verify your income from employment.
    • 1099 Forms: If applicable, provide 1099 forms for income from self-employment or other sources.
    • Pay Stubs: Include your most recent pay stubs to demonstrate your current income.
    • Employment Verification Letter: A letter from your employer confirming your job position, salary, and duration of employment can also be included.
  • Proof of Assets: If your income is insufficient to meet the income requirements, you can use your assets to supplement your financial support. Provide documentation for:
    • Bank Statements: Copies of recent bank statements showing your account balances.
    • Stocks, Bonds, and Investments: Statements or certificates for stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investments you own.
    • Real Estate: Documentation related to any real estate you own, such as property deeds or appraisals.
  • Proof of Current Employment: A letter from your employer confirming your current job position, salary, and employment status can help verify your income stability.
  • Proof of Relationship to the Immigrant: If you have a familial or close relationship with the immigrant being sponsored, include documents that establish the connection, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or adoption papers.
  • Form I-864A (if applicable): If there are multiple joint sponsors, each joint sponsor must complete a separate Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member.
  • Proof of Domicile: Provide evidence that you currently reside in the United States, such as utility bills, a lease agreement, or property ownership documents.
  • Copy of Immigrant Visa Petition: A copy of the immigrant’s approved visa petition (Form I-130, I-140, etc.) will be required to link the joint sponsor’s Affidavit of Support to the immigrant’s case.
  • Documentation for Other Income Sources: If you have income from sources other than employment, such as alimony, child support, or retirement benefits, include relevant documents.

Remember that this checklist is a general guideline, and specific requirements may vary based on the circumstances and immigration category. It’s recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or review the latest instructions provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure you have all the necessary documents in order to serve as a joint sponsor effectively.

How to fill out Form I-864, Affidavit of Support

Filling out Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is an important step in the immigration process, especially when sponsoring an immigrant family member. The form is used to demonstrate that the sponsor (or joint sponsor) has the financial means to support the intending immigrant and prevent them from becoming a public burden in the United States. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you fill out Form I-864:

Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. It’s recommended to consult the latest version of the form and instructions on the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or seek legal advice from an immigration attorney.

  • Download the Form: Download the latest version of Form I-864 from the USCIS website.
  • Read the Instructions: Carefully read the instructions that come with the form. This will help you understand the purpose of the form, who needs to fill it out, and what information is required.
  • Gather Required Information:
    • Personal Information: Provide your name, address, phone number, and other personal details.
    • Immigrant Information: Include the name of the intending immigrant you are sponsoring, their relationship to you, and their Alien Registration Number (A-Number) if available.
  • Part 1 – Information About You (the Sponsor):
    • Provide your personal information, including your name, date of birth, and address.
    • Indicate your U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident status.
    • If you’re married, provide information about your spouse.
    • If you have previously submitted an Affidavit of Support, provide the details.
  • Part 2 – Household Size:
    • List the number of people you will be sponsoring with this Affidavit of Support, including yourself, the intending immigrant(s), and any dependents.
  • Part 3 – Income:
    • Provide information about your current annual income, including wages, self-employment income, dividends, etc.
    • Attach supporting documents, such as tax returns (Form 1040 and associated schedules), W-2s, 1099s, and pay stubs.
  • Part 4 – Additional Information:
    • Answer questions about any sponsored immigrants who have received means-tested public benefits.
  • Part 5 – Sponsor’s Contract:
    • Read and acknowledge the sponsor’s contract, confirming your commitment to provide financial support to the sponsored immigrant(s).
  • Part 6 – Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature:
    • Provide your contact information and sign the form.
    • If you have a joint sponsor, they will also need to complete Part 6 and sign the form.
  • Part 7 – Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature (if applicable):
    • If an interpreter helped you complete the form, they should fill out this section and sign it.
  • Review and Organize: Review the form to ensure all the information is accurate and complete. Organize the required supporting documents, such as tax returns, pay stubs, and proof of income and assets.
  • Mail the Form: Mail the completed Form I-864 along with all required supporting documents to the appropriate address as specified in the form instructions.

Remember that providing accurate and complete information is crucial. If you have any doubts or questions, consider consulting with an immigration attorney to ensure your Affidavit of Support is properly completed. The USCIS website also provides resources and guidance to help you navigate the form-filling process.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button