How Does an Affidavit of Support (Form 864) Work?

The U.S. immigration process is often complex. When an immigrant brings a relative or family member with them to live in the United States, the immigrant will need to become legal and financially responsible for financially supporting the family member. An Affidavit of Support is a document that is required when someone acts as a sponsor under Section 213A of the INA. For example, if you are petitioning for an immigration visa, you will need to file an Affidavit of Support for your foreign national spouse to come with you.

What is an Affidavit of Support?

An Affidavit of Support is a legal document that relatives and spouses of immigrants must submit for their families to come with them to the United States. When an immigrant is applying for his or her own immigration visa, however, he or she does not need to submit an affidavit of support.

How do I Submit an Affidavit of Support?

The Affidavit of Support is essentially a legal contract between the sponsor (person applying for the visa) and the household member who will come with him or her. Each household member accepts legal responsibility for supporting relatives when the immigrant uses another household member’s income within the Affidavit of Support.

How Much do I Have to Make?

If you are seeking to bring dependents with you to the United States, you will need to make sure you make enough income to qualify. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses the Poverty Guidelines to determine whether you make enough money to sponsor your dependents on your visa. As the sponsor, you will need to submit documentation that your income is 125% or more above the mandated poverty line for a family, including all sponsored family members. For a household of two people, the sponsor must make $20,575 per year or more to meet the Poverty Guidelines requirement. The minimum income requirement increases as the sponsor’s household size increases. When a household has eight people in it, the sponsor must prove that he or she makes $52,975 or more per year. Keep in mind that child support does not count as income. Your spouse’s income can be included if your spouse will continue to have income from the same source after he or she obtains status as a lawful permanent resident.

What if I do Not Make Enough Money?

If you as the petitioner do not have enough income, you will need to find another co-sponsor. A co-sponsor can be a lawful resident or a U.S. Citizen. The co-sponsor will need to prove that he or she is in the United States legally through photo identification. There is no limit on the number of joint sponsors you may have. Each sponsor will need to qualify under his or her own income, however.

At Ray Law International, we have law firm offices in Chicago and New Jersey. If you are seeking to obtain an immigration visa to the United States and you would like to bring your spouse, children, or other dependents, we can help you. Contact our office today to schedule your initial appointment.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Public Charge Rule

If you are considering applying for an immigration visa to the United States, you will need to make sure that you are not considered a “public charge.” If the federal government determines that you are a federal charge who uses too many public benefits, they might deny your immigration application. The rules regarding what public charge means have changed recently. It is important to understand the new rules to avoid the pitfalls of the public charge rule.

What is the Public Charge Rule?

Congress first created the public charge concept in 1882 to allow the U.S. government to deny a visa to anyone who is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services uses the public charge rule to determine whether someone will become dependent on public benefits after they arrive in the United States. The USCIS uses a totality of the circumstances test. They will look not to focus on just one factor but will examine all of the factors. That means they will consider all of the following factors when they decide whether someone will become a public charge:

● Age

● Health

● Family status

● Assets

● Resources

● Financial status

● Education

● Skills

When Does the USCIS Deny Immigrants Based on the Public Charge Rule?

The public charge rule does not apply to every immigrant to the United States. It mostly impacts those seeking status as a permanent resident via a family member’s petition. The rule does not apply to U visa holders, asylees, T visa holders, or refugees. Most immigrants who are currently green card holders or lawful permanent residents will not be affected by the public charge rule. A person is likely to be a “public charge” in the eyes of the government when that person is “more likely than not” to receive one or more of the following public benefits for over 12 months within any 36-month period:

● Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)

● Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP)

● Certain other forms of subsidized housing

● Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

● Medicaid

● Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance and

● Non-Emergency Medicaid

● Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program

Tips for Immigrants to the U.S.

The public charge rule is intimidating, but immigrants will still be able to access types of public benefits without worrying about their immigration visa being terminated. Additionally, many New Jersey and Illinois public benefits are still available for immigrants without impacting their visas. Several states have joined in a lawsuit to stop the recent changes to the public charge rule made under the Trump administration, though a ruling will likely take some time.

Contact Our Immigration Lawyers Today

The U.S. immigration process is incredibly complicated. The new public charge rule is complex but extremely important. If you are attempting to immigrate to the U.S., or you are already in the U.S. and you are concerned about losing your immigration visa due to the public charge rule, our lawyers can help. Contact Ray Law International, PC today to schedule your initial consultation.