Completed sample USCIS form I-864 affidavit of support

It is very important to fill the right affidavit of support for your application.  Generally speaking, whatever immigration or visa petition you are filing, it will be indicated which form you need to complete, but as a rule of thumb, you will need to complete USCIS form I-134 for non immigrant visas like for tourism, but if you are going to sponsor a family member for a green card or permanent residency, then you will need to complete Form I864.  In this article, I will give you step-by-step directions using an example of a man with his wife, sponsoring his sister and her son to immigrate legally to the United States from Australia.

So what will you need to get started?  Well, since this is an affidavit of support, you will need to have all your financial information handy, including latest statements from banks, mortgage, brokerage account, tax returns for last three years, etc.  Also, I strongly suggest that you download the most recent version of the form from the USCIS website, save it to your hard driver, complete it on the computer, and then print it so that all you need to do is to sign it.  Attach all the supporting documents and you are done.  Needless to say that make sure that you type it carefully not making mistakes with numbers and read it a few times, preferably with the help of another person, to confirm that all entries are correct.

Part 1.  Basis for filing affidavit of support

In 1, type your name.  Below that, check one of the items from a to f.  If you are the petitioner, then check a.  b and c are for non-family situations and I am not discussing them here.  d and e are for those cases where there are joint sponsors.  f is applicable when the original petitioner has passed away and you are taking over the responsibility.

INS form i864 part I

Part 2. Information on the principal immigrant

Questions 2-5 are really straightforward and you can do that easily.  For item #6, enter the A# or alien number often given to many immigrants who have ever filed an immigration petition with the USCIS.  There is a possibility that the immigrant already has a Social Security number assigned by the United States Social Security Administration.  This is a unique number that remains the same for life, and is yours to keep even if you depart the United States forever.  Note that this number is different from ITIN and that should not be entered here.  Also, if you ever illegally used a false SSN or that of someone else, do not enter it here.  Enter only your legally assigned number.  Obviously, if none was ever assigned, leave it blank.

Part 3.  Information on the immigrant(s) you are sponsoring

According to US law, some aliens maybe able to bring along their spouse and minor children when they are sponsored for an immigrant visa to the United States.  In this example, we are going to assume that the US citizen is sponsoring her sister and she will bring along her minor son.  By checking #8, you also provide the name of the other immigrant.  It can get a bit tricky here so you have to be careful.  For instance, you can sponsor only one of the immigrants and other people can sponsor the other immigrants, but for the sake of simplicity we are assuming that the US citizen is sponsoring both immigrants.

uscis form i-864 affidavit

Part 4.  Information on the sponsor

This section is about you.  It is really simple to provide basic information about you and you should be able to complete it yourself.  In any case, I have an example here.

information on sponsor for green card

Part 5.  Sponsor's household size

This section aims to figure out that with the income and assets you have, will you be able to support the people you are planning to sponsor, till they are able to become self-dependent either by virtue of working or if they become naturalized citizens.

In item 21a, enter the total number of individuals you are sponsoring.  We are assuming that our sponsor is married with one child, so in h, we will have a total household size of 5.  This is the way to do it even though the immigrant does not plan to live with you.

sponsor household data

Part 6.  Sponsor's income and employment

Assuming that you have a regular job, then in 22a, write down your title and name of your company.  If you are self employed that is fine too and you can simply write something like "IT consultant."  If you are retired or unemployed that is fine as well and has no impact on the application as long as you have the assets and income to justify supporting the immigrant.

In question number 23, write down your annual income.  Repeat the number in 24a.  There is nothing wrong with including a family member's income and in this example, we list the income of the wife.  In c, just add all the incomes.  The wife should complete USCIS Form I864A which is similar to this wife and the idea to complete it separately, rather than just sign it here, is to make sure that the information is collected in a different document and not all the document needs to provided there.

In 25, it is important that you check it and I am assuming that you are meticulous about doing your tax returns.  If you have a tax mess with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for example, not filing a return or owing taxes, then, it is best to discuss with an attorney if you should sponsor an immigrant because not only are you jeopardizing the immigrant visa petition, you maybe in legal trouble yourself.  In case you are clear, then for the last three tax years, from your copies of your Form 1040EZ, copy your adjusted gross income (AGI).  DO NOT enter your actual income here because that is going to be much higher.  In case you are not aware, AGI is the income that is after you have taken out all the deductions and is the one that is actually taxed.  It is important to get this number right because the USCIS will crosscheck this with the IRS records.  Just to make things easier for the USCIS officer, just attach copies of these tax return and put a cross in the box.

green card sponso income employment
question 24 on affidavit of support
income tax return data

Part 7.  Use of assets to supplement income

Now, this part is optional if you have sufficiently higher income, which would be the case for most of you, but I am demonstrating how to complete this as well, just in case, you have low income or are retired or unemployed.  In that case, you can use your assets to justify that you are financially capable of supporting an immigrant.

assets to supplement income chart

In 26a, simply add up all your money in the bank.

In 26b, come up with the best home value (if you don't know what your home is worth, you can look at your property tax statement from the town and use the assessed value number from there) and then take out whatever is the balance left on your mortgage (the number should be on your monthly mortgage bill or you can call your bank to find out) and that is basically your equity in the home.  In c, add up things like brokerage account balance, boats, jewelry, etc.  d is the sum of all these.  If you are planning to use assets of a family member, they can be indicated in question #27.

Let us also assume that the immigrant you are assuming is also someone who has money.  You will notice that items 28 a, b, and c are similar to those in question number 26 for you.  The idea here is to include all the assets that immigrant will be able to transfer to the United States for living expenses, and thus, the immigrant will be able to support herself.

In 29, add up all the assets.

immigrant assets

Part 8.  Sponsor's contract

Read this part very carefully.   You are basically entering into a formal contract with Uncle Sam and if you don't meet your side of the agreement, you will be in court, your income will be garnished by the State, and your assets can be repossessed till every penny is paid.  So give it some thought before you sign this document. You have probably already had this conversation with the person you are sponsoring but you may want to think if the individual will be able to find a job in the United States, is someone responsible, and is willing to work hard to make a living.  Maybe you have assets and income now but in a few years you may lose your job and might need your savings for yourself and if the immigrant is unable to keep a job or is unable to find one, you may not be able to support these people.  So think hard and fast about the long term.

If you think you have given it enough thought, that the immigrant is a good person, then print the form, date and sign it.  Attach evidence to support all the claims that you have made, and you are done.

Completed sample USCIS form i-134 filled for affidavit of support

In this article I will show you how to complete USCIS Form I134 in case you need to provide this for an alien who is applying for a visa to the United States.  This is a very simple form to complete and you can do it yourself.  The only important thing to remember is that before filling this, either you should have copies of all your financial assets statements (like those from bank) or you should just be able to print them by going online in case you can do that, or just wait for a few weeks for the documents to arrive in case you have a habit of shredding documents as soon as you get them.  The right way to fill this form is to go the USCIS website, find the form, save it your computer hard driver and enter all the information.  Once it is all done and everything looks good, print it, sign it, and you are good to go.

At the very top, type your full name and full residential address.  This is not only the place for you to start the process but also to provide the information that the USCIS in order to send you a letter or to ask you to provide more information or even require you to attend an interview at a local USCIS office with original documents, in case that is needed.

USCIS form 134 first part

1.  Here you must provide your and date/place of birth.  If you were born in the USA, then, this is it.  However, if you were born outside the US, then, provide the relevant information. 

2.  A bit of repeat here but you now need to provide your age on the date you are completing this form and then add the date since which you have been living in the US.

3.  In this space, you will provide the details about the foreigner for whom you are completing the form.  Hopefully, you will have the exact details like age and address, but if not, it is better to confirm this so that it matches with their passports and visa application, rather than create a confusion.

4, 5, and 6.  There is nothing to complete but it is important to understand what you are going to sign.  In simple language, you are committing to taking care of these individuals as long as they are in the US so that the burden of supporting them does not fall on the US government.  Also, you will make sure that these individuals will definitely leave the United States before their visas expire.  You need to have this understanding with the aliens you plan to support so that there is no confusion.  In case, something goes wrong, the United States Government can sue you and possess your assets and income.  Generally speaking, most of the time, things go well, but you may insist that your overseas family or friends have a travelers health insurance policy before they arrive for the duration of the trip (particularly if they are in poor health or plan to engage in extreme sports) because it is the medical bills that will drive you bankrupt.

INS form i134 income breakdown

7.  Provide the area of work you do (if you are unemployed or retired or choose not to work you can say that as well) and if employed, add the name and address of your employer.  Then state your annual income.  If you have money in a checking or savings bank account, provide that dollar number.  If you have other personal properties like boats, cars, jewelry, etc. provide an estimated value.  If you invest in stocks either in form of an investment account or through IRA/401K, add the value from the latest statement (assuming you will provide a copy of the monthly statement and this is what I recommend), or from the latest value (in case you have just recently added more funds to the account or that the value of your investments has dramatically jumped from the last statement).  If you carry a life insurance policy, state its value here.  You may have to call your insurance company to find this out, but you will need to provide a cash surrender value of your policy as well (this is the amount your insurance firm will pay in case you cancel the policy before maturity, and typically, depending on the type of policy, it is a lot less or even zero).  Finally, give an estimated value for your home (you probably have a rough of how much your home is worth, if not, you can try websites like Zillow, or just put what you think is a reasonably good estimate based on what homes like yours are selling for in the area), and of course, you need to provide the remaining balance on your mortgage (if any) and then the address of the property.  Leave this space blank if you rent, but if you do own a property but not live in it, make sure that you include it.

USCIS visa form affidavit of support

8.  Do you have any dependents?  For instance, if your wife works only part time, you could list her as partially dependent, but if she makes even more money than you, there is no reason to declare her as a dependent.

9, 10.  I am assuming that you have not sponsored other aliens in the past and they are still in the US at this time (if they came and already left, then, it does not count).  If they are here, provide the details.  If not, just write none.

11.  Assuming that you plan to help these aliens while they are here (that is why this document because otherwise these foreigners will be able to pay for themselves), write exactly what you will do.  I have provided an example for someone who will let the guests stay in their home and take a few trips here and there.

Finally, print and sign.  Now make sure that you attach copies of your bank/brokerage/mortgage/life insurance statements.  Also if you listed other assets, provide a copy of a document that supports that.  The idea is that the USCIS officer can look at evidence and be convinced that you just did not pull those numbers out of a hat.

Completed example Form I-601A filled sample for provisional waiver

For those illegal immigrants who have an immediate family member (child, parent, or spouse) who has sponsored them for a family immigrant visa, the United States Government is allowing them to apply for a provisional waiver so that they can wait in the United States for their overseas consulate immigrant visa interview.  If approved, you will need to be in your native country only for the time it takes for you to arrive for the interview and then the few days it might take for the Consular staff to approve your petition and give you the proper documentation.  It is expected that this process should not take more than a few days or weeks, depending on the country in which you will be interviewed.

Assuming that you are eligible to file a provisional unlawful presence waiver and meet all the requirements, the next step is to file USCIS Form I-601A.  This is a fairly straightforward form for most applicants.  If you have filed your Form I-130 yourself, this form too can be filed without the help of an attorney.  In case you used a lawyer to file your immigration petition, it is best to hire the same firm.  Also, you should have a fairly clean background except for your illegal entry and/or unlawful stay in the United States.  In case you have a criminal background or other legal problems, DIY approach is not recommended; it is best to seek competent legal help to determine if you should even file this application, and if so, how.

The process to file is simple.  Download the latest Form 601A from the USCIS website and then complete it on the computer using my instructions below.  After it is complete, print it, attach the evidence/documents (copies of approval notices, doctor's note to prove illness/disability)/check for $670, and then mail it to:

P.O. Box 4599
Chicago, IL 60680

Once your application has been accepted, you will be asked to appear for a fingerprint/biometric appointment near you.  Eventually, your application maybe approved and you will be notified by mail.  When you finally leave the United States to attend, you will need to have the original approval letter with you that you must also carry with you to the consulate for the interview.

While each case is different and you will need to write your own hardship explanation, I provide here an example of an undocumented alien whose US citizen husband is disabled and without her help, he will be unable to take care of himself and their child.

Part 1: Information About Applicant

1. Enter your alien registration number (A#).  This is the number you will see on all your communication from the USCIS.

2. If you were ever assigned a valid Social Security number by the SSA, enter it here.  If you have been using a fake or fradulent SSN that was not assigned to you legally, do not enter it.  Leave the space blank instead.

3, 4, 5:  Enter your name and make sure that it is consistent with your pending application.

6, 7:  Provide your residential address and mailing address, if different from home address.

USCIS form i601a part !

8:  Enter a phone number that you can answer yourself or it has voicemail or someone can take a message.

9.  Provide your email address.

10. Enter date of birth.

11.  City of birth right from your passport

12.  Include province/state, and if not, leave it blank.

13.  Pick the country in which you were born.

14. Pick the country whose passport you currently have and will be the country you will be returning to for the interview.

15.  Enter the date you entered the US the last time.

16a, b:  Write down the place and pick the state.

17.  If you came on a visa and were inspected by an immigration officer at an airport or land crossing, write down the visa category that should be mentioned on your I-94 card and also the stamp in your passport.  If you crossed the border illegally, then write down EWI, which means entry without inspection.  In other words, you were not inspected by a CBP officer.

18a to 24:  If you have ever been in the US before, you must list all those entries and exits.  Try not to forget anything because the USCIS will have your data and if you miss something, it will count as lying.

25.  If you are currently in removal proceedings, or being deported, then you should really not be completing this application yourself.  You must work with an attorney instead.  Otherwise, check No.

27 to 31d:  Read carefully and your answer should be No.  Check that.  If you believe that you cannot answer a question as No, do not file yourself and seek legal help.  If you entered using false papers like passport/visa or you tried to help a family member enter the United States illegally by providing fake papers or paying a immigrant smuggler, even though you may not be caught, you should still not file this application yourself.  Just because you were not caught or charged with a crime, it does not mean that the Government does not know about it.  The person you bought false papers from or the criminal who took your money to help smuggle a person into the country may have provided all the information to the government.

ins form i601 a background


Part 2:  Information about immediate relative petition and immigrant visa processing

1.  Get out your immigration file and enter the USCIS receipt number of your approval petition

2a, b, c: Enter the full name of the US citizen family member

3. Pick the relationship status with this individual.

4. From your immigration file, find out the NVC case number and enter it accurately here (you should find it on the receipt for the DOS immigrant visa processing fee).

5. Your answer should be No.  If not, you are probably not eligible for this form.

Part 3:  Information about qualifying relative

1, 2:  Enter the name of the US citizen relative who will experience hardship and check your relationship.  This could be the same person as the one who sponsored you or could be different.

3.  If there are more than two people who will suffer due to your absence from the United States, then provide name and relationship status for all on a separate sheet of paper but make sure that you write down your A# on top so that the papers can be tracked in case they get separated from the application.

uscis petioning relative info

Part 4:  Statement from the applicant

This is the part that you should first write down in a separate document, proof read it, refine it, and only then retype it here or copy/paste.  Remember that everything else in the application is just information.  This is the most crucial part of the application and the decision is going to be based on how compelling the case is.  Also remember that there is a big difference between extreme hardship and merely inconvenience.  If your US citizen husband does not know how to cook or change diapers, that is just inconvenience, but if your 80 year old mother is suffering from cancer and can barely get out of bed, that is extreme hardship.  Below is a statement that demonstrates how this family will fall apart and there can be cases like this that you can have.  So be genuine and truthful.

uscis i601 statement extreme hardship

Part 5-8:  It is all pretty simple with nothing more than entering names and signatures.