Guide to Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (2024)

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Form I-864 Explained

What is Form I-864?

Financial sponsors for green card applicants use Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to remove the public charge grounds for inadmissibility. Form I-864 is required for most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants to show that they have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to become a public charge. The public charge rule does not require other categories like asylum/refugee, special immigrants, or diversity visas to submit an I-864 affidavit. Although there have been some changes to the public charge rule over the past few years, most applicants still need Form I-864.

Sponsors may be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or lawful permanent residents who are at least 18 years of age and domiciled in the United States. To successfully overcome the public charge grounds of inadmissibility, the sponsor must also have income that sufficiently meets or exceeds the federal poverty guidelines for the household size.

Determining household size and household income for your place of domain can be difficult. When preparing the Affidavit of Support on, our step-by-step online service empowers you make these determinations correctly. See how CitizenPath helps you >>

At the time of applying for a green card, the following immigrants are generally required to submit a Form I-864 completed by the sponsor:

  • All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years of age);
  • All family-based preference immigrants (sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents; and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens); and
  • Employment-based preference immigrants in cases only when a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or U.S. national relative filed the immigrant visa petition or such relative has a significant ownership interest (five percent or more) in the entity that filed the petition.

The green card applicant submits the I-864 affidavit with Form I-485 when adjusting status inside the United States. Individuals applying through a U.S. embassy or consulate will submit the I-864 affidavit to the National Visa Center when it is requested. In some limited cases, an applicant from the above categories may be exempt from filing an affidavit.

A sponsor completes Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, on behalf of the intending immigrant. Generally, to help the intending immigrant overcome the public charge ground and obtain a green card, the sponsor must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident age 18 or older;
  • Have income at or above 125 percent of the federal poverty lines for the household size; and
  • Have a U.S. domicile.

Certain active-duty military sponsors may only need to show income that meets or exceeds 100 percent of the FPG.

I-864 Sponsor

Who files Form I-864?

The petitioner who files Form I-130 or Form I-129F for the green card applicant, must also sponsor using Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Even if this petitioning sponsor does not have sufficient income, they must submit the affidavit. If the petitioning sponsor's household income is insufficient to be a viable supporter, they may enlist the additional support of a household member. Alternatively, the intending immigrant may add a joint sponsor.

Household Members and the I-864A Supplement

If there is a qualifying relative (spouse, adult child, parent, or sibling) that lives in the same household as the main sponsor, they may act as a household member that contributes income. A spouse who earns income is commonly used as a household member. In some cases, the intending immigrant may act as the household member. Generally, a household member must submit Form I-864A (Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member) with the primary sponsor's I-864. Intending immigrants acting as household members do not need to submit the I-864A supplement unless they have an accompanying spouse or children.

When the intending immigrant participates on Form I-864 as a household member, immigration law (8 CFR § 213a.1) makes it clear that their income must come from “lawful employment in the United States or from some other lawful source that will continue to be available to the intending immigrant after they acquire permanent resident status.” In other words, the intending immigrant's income from a U.S. job must come from authorized employment through an employment visa or work performed while authorized through an employment authorization document.

Joint Sponsor

A joint sponsor is an additional sponsor that doesn’t have to be related to the petitioner or the intending immigrant. This person can be a friend or family member. USCIS also does not require the joint sponsor to live at the same address. A joint sponsor submits a second, separate I-864 affidavit.

Form I-864 Instructions

How do I fill out I-864?

CitizenPath's easy-to-use website helps you prepare the affidavit quickly and accurately. Our online service provides step-by-step I-864 instructions so that you can fill out the form in the same day. We even give you a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your affidavit.

If you prefer to fill out the Form I-864 PDF, you can download instructions from USCIS or follow this summary of directions.

General Guidance

  • Type or print answers in black ink only.
  • Enter “N/A” if an answer is not applicable and "NONE" if your answer is zero.
  • Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English certified translation.
  • Submit photocopies for all supporting documents unless an original document is specifically required.
  • Form I-864 does not need to be notarized. However, the form must have the sponsor's actual signature in black ink. Do not use a digital signature. If adjusting status, submit the affidavit with the original ink signature. If submitting the affidavit to the National Visa Center, you may scan the original signed document.

Part 1

  • For Basis for Filing Affidavit of Support, indicate your specific role as the sponsor. Most sponsors are also the petitioner. Select a different basis if it applies.

Part 2

  • For Mailing Address, provide a mailing address where the intending immigrant (principal beneficiary) can safely receive mail. USCIS will mail the immigrant notices at this address.
  • For Other Information, supply the information requested including a reliable phone number. USCIS does not require the immigrant to have an alien registration number or USCIS online account number.
  • For Information About the Immigrants You Are Sponsoring, indicate whom you will sponsor. Most sponsors will be sponsoring the principal immigrant named in Part 2. However, additional family members should only be listed if they are also derivative beneficiaries on the same visa petition. Do not include any relative listed on a separate visa petition.

Part 4

    • For Sponsor's Mailing Address, again, provide a mailing address where you can safely receive mail. USCIS will mail the you notices at this address.
    • For Other Information, indicate your domicile as the United States. If you are not currently living in the United States, know your strategy for reestablishing domicile in the U.S.

Parts 5, 6, and 7

  • For Sponsor's Household Size, carefully add household members in the boxes provided. Do not count any member of your house more than once. Therefore, if you are sponsoring a spouse, enter "0" in the space for a spouse. You have already counted this person as the immigrant. Generally, your household will match up with the number of people on your tax return (plus one for the intending immigrant).
  • For Sponsor's Employment and Income, indicate your type of employment or employment status. Enter your current individual income. In other words, write the amount that you estimate that you (sponsor) will earn in the current year. If you are choosing to add other household members' income, you may also include it here. Indicate if you will be submitting Form I-864A for the additional household members. You must include I-864A unless the household member is also the intending immigrant and does not have any accompanying spouse or children.
  • For Use of Assets to Supplement Income, you may skip this section if you've entered an income in the previous section that safely exceeds 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. If you are unable to show income to meet the requirement, you may potentially use assets and personal property to bridge the gap.

Parts 8, 9 and 10

  • For Sponsor's Contract and Statement, read this section thoroughly to understand your obligations as an I-864 sponsor. Provide reliable contact information and sign your affidavit with black ink.
  • For Interpreter and Preparer, provide information if applicable. If you prepared your Form I-864, it’s only necessary to sign as the “sponsor.” If another person translated or prepared the affidavit for you, be sure Parts 9 and 10 are filled in and signed appropriately.

This is an abbreviated list of Form I-864 instructions. We highly recommend that you download USCIS instructions or use CitizenPath’s service to prepare the affidavit. CitizenPath provides specific, step-by-step instructions customized to your situation. You’ll also get detailed I-864 instructions that explain which supporting documents to submit, how to organize, and where to submit.

Filing the Affidavit

Where to send Form I-864?

It is not possible to e-file the I-864 affidavit. Adjustment of status applicants will mail the form to USCIS. Consular processing applicants can submit the form online to the National Visa Center.

Adjustment of Status

When filing Form I-864 through the adjustment of status process (submitting Form I-864 with Form I-485), your affidavit must have an ‘original’ or ‘wet ink’ signature. USCIS will not accept a photocopy of a signed form. The sponsor can forward the entire Affidavit of Support package (I-864 and all supporting documents) to the intending immigrant. The intending immigrant should combine the I-864 and supporting documents with the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) according to the I-485 filing instructions.

Consular Processing

When filing Form I-864 via consular processing (application for an immigrant visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate), applicants should submit the I-864 and all supporting documents to the National Visa Center (NVC). The applicant's case may be significantly delayed if documents are not submitted at the same time. If you are acting as the applicant’s agent, forward the entire Affidavit of Support package to the NVC as instructed. Otherwise forward the documents to the intending immigrant.

When submitting the I-864 to the NVC, an ‘original’ or ‘wet ink’ signature is not required. You may scan the signed affidavit and forward it to the NVC (or the intending immigrant). Only adjustment of status applicants filing Form I-485 from within the U.S. must submit a wet ink signature document.

I-864 Exemptions

Does everybody need an I-864 affidavit?

Certain classes of immigrants are exempted from the public charge test. In other words, the rule does not apply to certain non-citizens such as: asylees, refugees, special immigrant juveniles, Afghan and Iraqi interpreters, and VAWA self-petitioners. View a list of public charge exemptions. Even if you are not exempted from the rule, there are certain I-864 exemptions.

Most family-based (and even some employment-based) immigrants must have an I-864 sponsor. There are some exemptions for certain people in these categories. The following types of intending immigrants do not need to file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support:

  • Any intending immigrant who has earned or can receive credit for 40 qualifying quarters (credits) of work in the United States. In addition to their own work, intending immigrants may be able to secure credit for work performed by a spouse during marriage and by their parents while the immigrants were under 18 years of age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can provide information on how to count quarters of work earned or credited and how to provide evidence of such on the SSA website.
  • Any intending immigrant who will, upon admission, acquire U.S. citizenship under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA);
  • Self-petitioning widows or widowers who have an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant; and
  • Self-petitioning battered spouses and children who have an approved Form I-360.

If you do qualify for one of the exemptions above, it's necessary to communicate to the U.S. government by submitting Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption, instead of Form I-864.

How CitizenPath Helps You

Is there an inexpensive way to file the I-864 affidavit?

CitizenPath's affordable, online service makes it easy to prepare Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Designed by immigration lawyers, the Affidavit of Support Package helps you eliminate the common errors that create delays, rejections and even denials. That's because the service alerts you when your answer to a question may be a problem. You'll also get customized filing instructions based on your situation. It's a powerful, do-it-yourself tool that puts you in control. And we've got your back -- CitizenPath provides live customer support and provides a money-back guarantee that the sponsor will qualify. Get started >>


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Frequently Asked Questions

Generally, you must submit a separate I-864 for each intending immigrant you are sponsoring. However, you may submit photocopies if you are sponsoring more than one intending immigrant listed on the same Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

When sponsoring an immediate relative of the petitioner, the intending immigrant must have their own I-864. That's because no relative listed on a separate visa petition should be included as a family member on the I-864. However, other categories can list family members.

Learn more about submitting I-864 for multiple family members.

A few petitioners can use an easier version of Form I-864 called the I-864EZ. To be eligible to use I-864EZ, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be the petitioner who filed the original Form I-130 on behalf of the intending immigrant;
  • Have listed only one immigrant on Form I-130 (without any derivative spouses or children); and
  • Be able to show sufficient income to support the intending immigrant based solely on your salary and pension, which amount is shown on the W-2 Form(s) provided by your employer or former employer.

However, even if you meet these requirements, it doesn't mean you must use I-864EZ. If you meet the criteria to use Form I-864EZ, you may submit Form I-864 instead. You make the choice. CitizenPath only provides a service to prepare Form I-864. Our service makes it easy to complete and ensures you do everything correctly.

Learn more about the criteria to use Form I-864EZ.

A sponsor can file an I-864 even if they haven't filed federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue System. It's less likely that someone who hasn't filed tax returns will be a qualified sponsor (compared to someone with a documented income tax return history). What's more, it's important to understand why no return was filed. In some cases, an individual who doesn't have sufficient taxable income isn't required to file a tax return. On the other hand, you should speak to a tax expert if you previously failed to file tax returns as required by the IRS.

If there's a legitimate reason that you didn't file, you'll need to explain why you were not required to file a federal tax return.

The list of supporting documents submitted with Form I-864 for your situation is based on your answers in the form. For an exact list, please refer to the USCIS instructions or the CitizenPath filing instructions that you receive after preparing the Affidavit of Support Package.

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Guide to Form I-864, Affidavit of Support (2024)


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