One essential form in a family-based immigrant application is the I-864 or the affidavit of support. In this article, we do a deep dive into the I-864 affidavit of support, what applicants need to know about it, and a couple of clarifications as to how to fill it up.
Things to Know About the Affidavit of Support in Family-Based Immigrant Applications
Because it’s complex and tricky, anyone filling out the affidavit of support for the first time is bound to get confused. Hence, it’s necessary that applicants are armed with these things when navigating the form:
1. It’s required for sponsoring a family member.
The I-864 affidavit of support is required when sponsoring a family member for a green card. It must be attached and submitted with the green card application, along with several other forms including the I-130 and I-485.
2. It can be confusing to fill out.
There are certain sections in the I-864 that are tricky to navigate. It’s not as straightforward as other immigration forms, so it’s important to understand each question and fill them up properly. The most confusing sections are those that pertain to the following:
Household, Beneficiaries, Spouse
There are fields in the I-864 form that will ask the applicant to enter numbers that correspond to their household size, spouse, how many people they’re sponsoring, how many are not sponsored, etc. While these seem straightforward at first glance, it gets tricky when one person applies to multiple fields.
In the question about household size, the form will say that any member of the household cannot be counted more than once. That means in cases where the applicant is sponsoring their spouse, they have to enter a number in the sections corresponding to the spouse, household, and number of people being sponsored. This circumvents the form’s instructions not to count any member more than once.
There’s also a question about dependents under the section on household size, which can lead to confusion if the dependents do not live with the applicant.
There are a lot of loose ends in the I-864, and applicants can actually leave certain fields blank. Regardless, it’s important that they read the instructions carefully to make sure they’re making the right inputs.
Another one of the most confusing sections in the I-864 form is that pertaining to the applicant’s annual income. This section can be filled up in one of two ways. The applicant can either input information about their tax return for the previous year or in cases where the applicant changed jobs recently, should supply updated numbers.
In the same section, the I-864 form will ask the applicant to list their total income as reported on their federal income tax returns for the past three years. It’s important to know that this section does not refer to the W-2 income. Instead, it pertains to the 1040 form filed with the IRS.
In case there are years where taxes were not filed, the applicant needs to indicate the year, write “Not filed” beside it, and provide an explanation of why the taxes were not filed for that specific year.
This section will also require supplementary documents. But instead of sending in their 1040 forms or W-2s, immigration would prefer to see their tax transcripts. These can be downloaded on irs.gov.
A Final Word
The affidavit of support is a tricky document to fill in. And oftentimes, an applicant won’t be able to provide the correct answers and information the first time – and that’s okay.
The complicated nature of an I-864 is bound to trigger questions from immigration and prompt them to send a request for evidence (RFE) that asks for clarification or documentation. If that happens, the applicant simply has to go back to correct the form and write it in a particular way that the officer is expecting to see it.