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How to Complete the Form I-864

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This Guide has been prepared for the purpose of providing general instructions for completing the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. By using this Guide you agree that no attorney-client relationship exists between you and Sound Immigration nor any of its attorneys. This Guide is made available at no cost and may be distributed at will, but may not be altered without advance written permission from the author.

Remember that immigration law is extremely complex. It is strongly suggested that an individual consult with an attorney prior to signing the Form I-864. This Guide is no substitute for individual legal advice.

I. What is the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support?

U.S. immigration law is an invitation-based system. For someone wishing to move permanently to the country there is no general “line” to get in. Rather, the path to permanent residency (a “green card”) usually begins with a U.S. business or individual petitioning for the foreign national – think of this as a type of invitation from the U.S. entity or individual to the foreign national.

Any foreign national wishing to enter the U.S. is screened through a long list of grounds of inadmissibility. These range from crime-related grounds to health-related grounds. A long-standing ground of inadmissibility bars an individual likely to become a “public charge” – that is, likely to be a drain on public resources. This determination is made either by a consular officer at the time of a visa interview, or at the time the individual applies within the U.S. to become a permanent resident. A variety of factors are considered in the public charge determination. Since 1996, however, immigration petitioners have been required to promise financial support to certain classes of foreign nationals.

The Form I-864, Affidavit of Support is an immigration form submitted by the U.S. immigration petitioner, guaranteeing to provide financial support to a foreign national beneficiary. The form is required to ensure the immigrant does not become a “public charge.” The I-864 is required in all cases where a U.S. citizen or permanent resident has filed an immigration petition for a foreign family member including for a spouse.

In addition to the primary sponsor (i.e., the immigration petitioner) an additional individual may be asked to file a Form I-864. Where the sponsor is unable to demonstrate adequate financial wherewithal, an additional “joint-sponsor” may be used to meet the required level. To qualify as a joint sponsor, the individual needs to be an adult U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident currently living in the United States. Joint sponsors typically are – but are not required to be – family or close friends of the primary sponsor. A joint sponsor signs a separate Form I-864, indicating herself as a joint rather than primary sponsor.

I.1 What are the consequences of signing the Form I-864?

The I-864 is a binding legal contract between you and the United States government. By signing the document you make two distinct promises. First, you promise to ensure that the intending immigrant has income at a level equivalent to 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. A table showing that income level is available on the Form I-864P, which may be found at Note that the levels are slightly higher for individuals residing in Alaska or Hawaii. The guidelines are adjusted each year.

Second, you promise to repay the government for the cost of any “federally funded, means-tested public benefits” paid to the intending immigrant. These include such programs as Medicaid and TANF (cash assistance), but does not include general medical care, such as emergency room visits.

If you elect to sign the I-864 you are required to update the U.S. government of any address change. Within 30 days of changing address you must file an I-865 form, available for download at

Regarding the first promise, if the intending immigrant’s income level falls below the required level, you are responsible for providing support to make up the difference. The intending immigrant has the legal ability to sue you in court if you do not maintain support. If there are multiple I-864 sponsors the intending immigrant has the ability to sue any one or all of these sponsors. Take this liability very seriously. I-864 sponsors have been successfully sued many times across the country.

Regarding the second promise, if the intending immigrant receives public benefits you can be sued by a government agency for the cost of those benefits. Generally it is uncommon for agencies to take this step. However agencies do have the legal ability to take this step if they choose to.

In the event you are sued by the intending immigrant or by the government, you would be responsible for paying the costs of the lawsuit and for the attorney fees incurred by the intending immigrant.

You receive no legal benefit by signing the I-864. Many people sign joint sponsor I-864s to assist their friends and family with immigration, and most of these individuals will never suffer financially for having done so. Intending immigrants frequently get joint sponsor I-864s from their friends and family. But you need to weigh your desire to help with the very real financial obligations of executing this document.

I.2 How long do the responsibilities last?

Your obligations continue until the first of these five events occur: the intending immigrant

  • becomes a U.S. citizen;
  • can be credited with 40 quarters of work;
  • is no longer a permanent resident and has departed the U.S.;
  • after being ordered removed seeks permanent residency based on a different I-864; or
  • dies.

The intending immigrant’s divorce from the petitioner does not end a sponsor’s obligations. It is conceivable that no terminating event would ever occur, so it is possible that your obligations could last for the duration of the immigrant’s life. The intending immigrant can choose to seek citizenship in as little as three years, but immigrants are not required to become citizens if they choose not to.

II. Terms explained.

Here are some terms that you’ll encounter when completing the Form I-864.

  • The person who initiated the process of bringing the immigrant to the United States by filing a Form I-130 petition. This will generally be someone filing for a husband/wife or other family member.
  • This refers to anyone who is signing Form I-864 to “sponsor” an immigrant. There are both primary sponsors and joint/co-sponsors.
  • Joint-sponsor/co-sponsor. These two terms may be used interchangeably. If the petitioner doesn’t have sufficient income to sponsor the immigrant, then an additional sponsor will be needed to provide the required support. The additional sponsor has the same legal support duties as the petitioner with regard to sponsoring the immigrant.
  • Primary sponsor. The petitioner is required to file a Form I-864, even if he/she doesn’t meet the required income level. In this capacity, the petitioner is sometimes referred to as the primary sponsor.
  • Primary vs. derivative immigrant. It is common for more than one family member to immigrate at the same time, as happens when an immigrant parent comes with children. In these scenario, the primary immigrant refers to the parent, who will have been the first individual named on the immigration petition; the children will be derivatives with respect to the process.

III. Step-by-Step Instructions.

General pointers:

  • Typing versus hand writing. It is a good idea to complete the form on a computer so that you can later make changes if needed. For a P.C. Adobe Acrobat reader may be downloaded for free at It is permissible to hand-write the form, but you will need to completely re-write the form.
  • The form must have an original ink signature. Sign with a black pen and press down firmly so that it is clear the signature is original. The immigration service used to reject signatures in blue ink, though they have stopped doing so in recent years.
  • Extra space. If you need extra space to answer any item use Part 11 “Additional Information” to write your answer. If this is not enough space, you may attach an additional piece of paper (label it “I-864 Addendum Page”). Make sure to reference the Page, Part and Item Number that you are referring to.

III.1 Part 1 – Basis for Filing Affidavit of Support

Part 1Part 1 identifies what your relation is to this immigration case. If you are the petitioner you answer 1.a. If you have been required to be a joint sponsor, in most circumstances you will give answer 1.d, that you are the “only joint sponsor.” The only time you would give another answer (answer 1.e) is if there are more than one individuals immigrating at the same time. For example, there could be more than one joint sponsor if a mother is immigrating with her two children (called derivatives).


III.2 Part 2 – Information About the Principal Immigrant

Part 2Part 2 asks for information about the Principal Immigrant. This is the primary immigrant in the immigration case. Again, if a mother was immigrating with children, the mother would be the Principal immigrant

Alien Registration Number. This number refers to a identification number issued by the immigration authorities. You will need to check with the individual to see if she has an alien number.

USCIS ELIS number. This refers to an online filing system that is currently available for only limited types of immigration applications. In most circumstances the Principal Immigrant will not have an ELIS number. Note that the ELIS number is not the same as the Alien Registration Number.

III.3 Part 3 – Information About the Immigrants you are Sponsoring

Part 3In Part 3 you state which individual or individuals you are choosing to sponsor. You may have been requested to sponsor only the Principal Immigrant, or you may have been requested to sponsor additional individuals immigrating with the Principal Immigrant.

In most circumstances you will answer “yes” to question 1. You would answer “no” only if there were two or more Joint Sponsors, and you were not sponsoring the Principal Immigrant.

Your answer to question 2 depends on whether there are additional immigrants who you have been asked to sponsor. Check with the Principal Immigrant to see who you are being asked to sponsor.

III.4 Part 4 – Information about you (Sponsor)

Part 4 asks for basic information about you, and is mostly self-explanatory. Your country of domicile means the country where you maintain a residence and plan to live for the foreseeable future. If you have been asked to complete this Form you almost certainly live in the United States.

III.5 Part 5 – Sponsor’s Household Size

Part 5

To determine if your income is sufficient to serve as sponsor, the immigration service has to know your legal household size. There are technical rules about who counts as your household member. When completing this section you count a person only once.

Line 7 refers to non-dependent relatives who are living with you. These could include your:

  • Parents;
  • Brother/sister; or
  • Adult (over age 21) children.

The only reason to include these individuals is if you want to count their income for purposes of this form. If so, they will need to complete and additional form called the Form I-864A.

III.6 Part 6 – Sponsor’s Employment and Income

This is an extremely important section of the Form. Most problems with the Form I-864 come from incorrect answers on this section.

Part 6

Household versus individual income. This section asks you to report both your individual income (item 2) and your current household income (item 15). Your “Household income” means your income as reported on your most recent IRS tax return. If you filed a Form 1040 return you must report your total income; if you filed a Form 1040EZ you report your adjusted gross income. This distinction is extremely important!

Your individual income will be different from your household income if you filed joint tax returns with a. If you did, then you will need to isolate which of the reported income was yours versus the souse. To do this, refer to your W-2 from the most recent tax years, along with any Forms 1099 or Schedules showing your income.

It is extremely important that the numbers in this Part add up correctly. Household Income must equal the sum of the individual income reported for each household member. For household with complex income, it will be easiest to ask your accountant to provide a statement showing the breakdown of income between household members.

What if your income went up or down since the last time you filed federal tax returns? If you income has changed since the last time you filed taxes then you will need to report your new income level. Please note that if you do this you will need to provide 6 months of paystubs to validate the newly claimed income. It is also a good idea to provide an original, signed letter from your employer stating your date of hire and current salary. This poses a substantial extra burden for you. If your most recent reported income was above the required level, it will be far easier to simply report that number. The immigration service defines “income” as what was reported on the most recent returns.

Self-employment. The I-864 can get very complicated for someone who is self-employed. For a sponsor without W-2 income, she/he will have the task of carefully documenting the sources of income in a way that can be understood by the immigration services. Here are things you may wish to consider providing in the case of self-employment. Note that these are in addition to the income tax documentation, which is required in call cases:

  • Profit/loss statement. This is a helpful way to show the immigration service that the self-employed sponsor is making money.
  • Bank statements. 12 months of bank statements for the business. If the sponsor has been using a personal bank account for business income/expenses then it is critical to provide separate accounting of business cash flow.
  • Federal business tax returns. If the sponsor files a Schedule C with her/his personal income tax returns this should be provided, along with any other schedules and/or 1099s showing income.

Non-taxable income. Non-taxable income may be used to meet the required financial support amount, such as the following scenarios. Be careful to provide documentation of these benefits, since by definition they will not be accounted for in your reported “total income” on tax returns.

  • Social Security earnings.
  • Investment earnings.
  • Legal settlements.
  • Inherited funds.
  • Life insurance proceeds.
  • Disability insurance and disability compensation.
  • Unemployment insurance. Note that this is problematic, as the immigration service may have concerns about the longevity of such benefits, which are limited in duration.

III.7 Part 7 – Use of Assets to Supplement Income (Optional)

You need to complete this section of the form only if your reported income in Part 6 was less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for your household size. Here are those Guidelines for 2015 (they are adjusted each year):

125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (2015)

Household Size Annual Monthly Weekly
1 $14,713 $1,226 $283
2 $19,913 $1,659 $383
3 $25,113 $2,093 $483
4 $30,313 $2,526 $583
5 $35,513 $2,959 $683
6 $40,713 $3,393 $783
7 $45,913 $3,826 $883
8 $51,113 $4,259 $983
Each extra member $  5,200 $   433 $100


How much is needed? If your income was not at or above the required level, then you may use financial assets to make up the difference. How much is required? Follow these steps to find out:

  1. Find the difference between actual income and required Let’s assume that you have a reported household size of 3. Using the chart above, we see the required annual income level is $25,113. Let’s assume your annual income is $20,000. That leaves a difference of $5,113 between your actual income and the required income.
  2. Identify your relation to the immigrant being sponsored. The amount of required assets will depend on your relation to the person who is immigrating. For most immigrants, you will need to demonstrate assets that are five times the difference you identified in step one. But if the person being sponsored is your husband/wife or minor child, then you have to show only three times the difference. Also, in certain circumstances involving an immigrant orphan the assets need to be only one times the difference in step one (these cases are rare).
  3. Multiply the amount in step one by the factor identified in step 2. Let’s assume you are sponsoring someone to whom you are not related. This is the most common scenario. In that case you will need to show financial assets five times the difference you identified in step 1. In step 1, we found a $5,113 difference between the actual income and required income. 5 x $5,113 = $25,565. So this means you will need to report financial assets that are valued at $25,565 or greater.

What assets may be used? The rule for assets is that they must be “available in the United States for the applicant’s support and must be readily convertible to cash within one year.” What does this mean? That you are allowed to count an asset only if you can sell it, and have the resulting cash in the U.S., within 12 months. So obviously the ideal assets would be money in a U.S. bank account, since that’s U.S. cash that’s immediately available. But it is common for joint sponsors to need to rely on other forms of assets, and these require some more careful assessment. Types of assets may include stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and property (both real estate and other forms of property).

Documenting the asset. You are required to provide the following documentation for any asset you report in Part 7:

  • Proof of ownership.
  • Proof of where the asset is located.
  • Proof of the date you acquired the asset.
  • A 12-month withdraw history.
  • Proof of valuation (if applicable).

This documentation generally does not need to be notarized. In the case of a checking account, for example, you may simply provide copies of your last 12 months of statements to satisfy all requirements above. Issues with proof of valuation are most common when real estate is used. Ideally a recent appraisal of the property would be provided. Since this is expensive to obtain, sponsors often submit alternative evidence instead, such as tax assessment records and a free valuation from an online real estate site such as Such alternative evidence may not be accepted by the immigration services, however.

Using assets of a household member. You may include the assets of another household member (see Part 7, item 5), but only if: (1) the household member completes a Form I-864A; and (2) the household member has been living with you for a minimum of 6 months. The household member’s assets need to be documented for the Form I-864A in the same way described above. You should also present proof that the person has been living at your address for the required 6 months, such as a rental agreement listing the individual, or bills sent to the address with that person’s name.

Using assets of the sponsored immigrant. You are allowed to count assets owned by the primary sponsored immigrant. Importantly, however, the immigrant’s assets may be counted by only one sponsor. So if you are a joint sponsor, you need to ensure that the primary sponsor has not already reported the immigrant’s assets on his/her Form I-864. If the immigrant’s assets are available for you to report, the immigrant does not need to complete a Form I-864A. But you will need to provide documentation of the assets as described above (showing ownership, etc.).

Using assets outside the U.S. What if you want to rely on assets in a foreign country? This is theoretically possible, but complex. Remember that the assets need to be available as cash in the U.S. within 12 months, if needed. You would need to provide documentation that it would be possible for you to make this happen, if needed. This would be relatively easy, for example, in the case of a London bank account, and a notarized letter from your banker should be sufficient. But the case becomes far more complex with countries who have less close financial ties to the U.S. For other countries you would be wise to provide a notarized legal opinion statement from an attorney explaining that the assets could be sold and proceeds transferred if needed. For any non-U.S. assets there is a good chance you will receive a time-consuming request for additional documentation from the immigration service.

III.8 Doing a final review

The immigration service has become infamous for rejecting I-864s with even small, typographical errors. For this reason we strongly encourage you to spend time carefully reviewing the form. Here are a couple suggestions for proactively reviewing the form.

  • Print a copy of your completed form and get a blue pen and red pen. Going very slowly, look at each individual item on the form. Has the item been completed? If so give it a check with the blue pen? Is the item blank? If so, give it a check with the blue pen if it should be blank (as where it doesn’t apply to your case) or else mark it red. When you’ve gone through the entire form in this way, return to each red mark and make the appropriate correction to your form. When you make the correction, mark the item blue to indicate that it’s been corrected.
  • Now print the form again and ask a friend or family member to repeat the correction process that you just did. At our firm we have a support personnel and an attorney go through this process for every form that leaves our office. It’s very time consuming, but a good way to catch errors.
  • In Part 6, Items 19.a-19.c, double check that your “Total Income” matches the amount on the tax returns that you are providing. The immigration service can reject the Form I-864 if there is a single digit error in these items, even if the actual income meets the required level. Double and triple check that you provided the correct numbers. Remember, if you filed taxes using a Form 1040 then you report total income from those returns; if you filed using a Form 1040EZ then you use adjusted gross income.

 IV. Required documents

You will be required to provide the following documents with your Form I-864. It is acceptable to send photocopies, rather than originals of these documents.

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Residency. You must submit one of the following based on whether you are a U.S. citizen or resident:
      • Birth certificate;
      • Certificate of naturalization;
      • Certificate of citizenship;
      • Consular report of birth abroad; or
      • Photo (biographic page) of U.S. passport.
    • Residency.
      • Both sides of your Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551; “green card”);
      • Both sides of your Alien Registration Receipt Card; or
      • Unexpired Form I-551 stamp in foreign passport or on Form -94 Arrival-Departure record.
    • Tax records. You are required to provide documentation of your most recent year’s Federal income tax returns. You are not required to provide returns for the additional two preceding years, but it is generally best practice to do so. There are two options for how to document your returns.
      • Photocopies of returns. You are permitted to provide a photocopy of your federal income tax returns. Ideally this should be a photocopy of the signed form that you submitted to the IRS, including all attachments. In reality, people often have only an unsigned copy that their accountant gave them. We have seen many people submit such a copy without issue, but there is a chance it would be rejected. You may wish to consider the other alternative, which is submitting a copy of your tax transcript (see immediately below).
      • Tax transcript. Alternatively, you can request something called a “tax transcript” directly from the IRS. This is the definitive record of your tax filing history. At our law firm we prefer to use tax transcripts instead of photocopied returns, to avoid any question of whether we are accurately reporting income history. The transcript can be requested by filing a paper copy of Form 4506-T with the IRS (available here). Historically you have been able to request the transcript online (here) though at the time or writing that service was not currently available. We have also had luck with clients going to a local IRS office to make the request in person, but it is not clear that all IRS offices will provide this service.
    • Documentation of change of income (if applicable). See above.
    • Documentation of assets (if applicable). See above.
3.8/5 - (6 votes)

Greg is recognized as the leading national authority on enforcement of the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Greg represents low-income green card holders in lawsuits to recover support from their sponsors. Practicing family-based immigration law, Greg also focuses on helping married and engaged couples with U.S. immigration.

This Post Has 81 Comments

  1. Hi!
    I am filling the i-130 to apply for residency to my mother. I know I have to fill an i-864 even if my income is insufficient and we have my uncle who will serve as a joint sponsor (he will fill out another i-864) the question is: should my husband fill an i864a even if his income Is not it enough to sponsor my mother?

    1. Hi, Adriana:
      A spouse of an I-864 sponsor files a Form I-864A, not I-864… but only if the sponsor is counting that person’s income. If the sponsor does not list the household member’s income then a Form I-864A is not required.

  2. my wife filling for her parents and last year she had no income. we are married and tax filed jointly. I (husband) have only income for our household. Now how she (petitioner) will attend to AOS I 864 form ? she will be declared our last year income as is her income ? or I have to submit another AOS I 864 along with my wife? Please advise. I appreciate your kind support.

  3. Thank you so much for this article! It was very helpful! I have a question I hope you can answer. I am petitioning for my spouse, but have no income right now. I live with my parents, but I am not listed on their tax returns as a dependent. They will be joint sponsors. I know I have to fill out the I-864 even though I have no income, but would my mom fill out the I-864 and my dad the I-864A? Or since they are my household members, do they both fill out an I-864A? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Christine. It sounds like they would meet the requirements to qualify as household members, in which case they would both file an I-864A for use in connection to your I-864. A household member must be:
      1. A family member or dependent; and
      2. At least 18 years of age; and
      3. Currently living with main sponsor.

  4. “You are requested to submit detailed information about all other immigrants your Joint Sponsor is sponsoring, and a detailed letter for the plans on how he intends to support you in the United States.” this is an email I got from an embassy. my joint sponsor has given the name and address to other people who want to come to the united state they are still back in the country. but never sign an affidavit of support .i really don’t know what the looking for

    1. Suren, this is due to newly created guidelines in the Foreign Affairs Manual that allow consulates to question the likelihood that a joint sponsor will actually provide support to the person getting the visa. There are currently no clear guidelines on how to respond to such a request. Essentially, the joint sponsor will need to provide a statement outlining his or her actual plans to support the person. Will the sponsor be giving the person a place to stay? Money for the person’s use? How do they know each other? Why was the person willing to make this commitment? We hope to get more guidance from the Department of State on these matters, but there is none at this moment.

  5. Hi I had a question regarding the I-864. My wife and her son travelled her on a B2 visa. We got married and I sent in her application which was approved. It has been over 1 year and I want to turn in my stepsons paperwork. I’m confused on part 3 of the I-864 questions 1-3. Which one do I mark?

    1. Hi, James. The answer to your question doesn’t really depend on the facts you describe here. I’d recommend referring to the official instructions available from the USCIS website. Assuming you are a U.S. citizen you should have filed for adjustment of status (if that’s what was pursued) for both your spouse and stepchild at the same time.

  6. I am a US citizen and will be petitioning for my foreign spouse. You say that the person filing this will almost certainly be living in the US. In my case, that is not the case. Both of us live and work in Mexico and we don’t plan on moving to the US until she obtains her green card. What are my options in this case? I do maintain a US address (it is my parent’s address, however, and I do not own any property or have a rental agreement). My plan is to put this as our intended (temporary) address once we move to the US and my parents will serve as a co-sponsor on the I-864 as I will not have any immediate US income until I come to the US and find work (and my assets are far below the required threshold). Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. If you don’t have a record (generally 6+ months) of income from a US source, or have assets equal to 3x the total sponsorship amount, then you will likely need to obtain a joint sponsor.

  7. Hi! I have a question. My husband is petitioning me and we have a joint sponsor who is single and has no kids or other dependents. His total income according to his 1040 is 85,374. Is the household income the same? If not, then where I can find it? Thank you!

  8. I previously worked in the USA and have more than 40 quarters of social security credits. As a result, I plan on filing an I-864W in support of my son’s I-130 application to sponsor me.
    Is the basis for the I-864W solely having 40 quarters or more credits irregardless of the amount of my social security monthly payment?
    Thanks for your time!

  9. My income level has gone up since filing the affidavit of support for my spouse. Do you recommend that I re-submit my affidavit of support or supplement it with a new employment offer letter? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi, Caleb. You usually do not need to file a new I-864. But if this is an adjustment matter you should bring in 6 months of pay stubs when you go for the interview, and the officer may want to amend the affidavit there. If it is a consular matter then your family member may bring that info for the interview. But if your old income was already sufficient they may not care, since there are no “bonus points” for extra income, and under the Foreign Affairs Manual, income is judged based off of the last federal income tax filings.

  10. I was interview in local embassy, VC told me that you i864 income not sufficient. it was less than 500 usd. they asked me to send new join sponsor
    my joint sponsor income is now up and meeting creiteria but last two years income is less not meeting, can he still become my sponsor would my case accept. need urgent help.

  11. I am US National born in Germany. Never lived or worked in US but now petitioning my wife (UK national) as we are both planning to move out to US. Trouble is I-864, I have never completed IRS tax return and I am currently self employed in the UK. My sister lives in the US, should I use her as primary sponsor / joint sponsor as I think my lack of federal tax returns likely to open pandoras box?

    Any help here appreciated?

    1. Unfortunately, “Pandora’s box” might not be far off. U.S. citizens are required by law to file income returns based on worldwide income. Some portion of income is exempt. But you’ll need to talk to a U.S. tax professional to gauge whether you have tax liability. That will usually need to get straightened out before you can successfully complete the immigration process. There is also the issue of demonstrating financial wherewith all. If you do not have income from a U.S. company (and it appears you don’t) that will continue after relocation, then you will either have to rely on assets (3x the required income level) or obtain a joint sponsor.

  12. Hi Soundimmigration,
    Thank you for the helpful post! But I am still confused about my AOS support documents. Can you help me with these questions?

    1. My wife and I filed tax return jointly, and we have ordered the tax transcripts for the 3 most recent years. Do I still need to include Federal income tax return and W-2?
    2. My employer is not willing to write the letter of employment verification, and all my paystubs are printed online without signature, and official letter head and phone number, Do I need to prove that these paystubs are legitimate? Should I attach a letter explaining the situation and attach it to the form along with 6 months paystubs? (I have a copy of the employer’s letter saying that they will not giving out letter of employment verification)
    3. Another thing is the different in last year and current income. My work hours of my new job is different every week, and it is difficult to estimate my annual earning. Then how should I answer the question “current individual annual income for the form I-864 and I-864A since it is completely different from last year income?

    1. 1. When transcripts are provided, you don’t need to file copies of returns.

      2. If your reported income in 2016 was sufficient, updated paystubs and an employer letter are not required. If there is a variance, then 6-months of stubs without a letter is normally okay.

      3. The best one can normally do in such a scenario is average earnings across 6 or 12 months.

  13. Hi Greg

    My wife is a USC filing I-864 for me. She works overseas. She has filed tax returns with all her income exempt due to it being foreign income. Her income will not continue post moving to the US. My question is can she put in her overseas income under current income (part 6 question 2) or she would have to put it nil in line with her tax returns?

    1. If the employment is not continuing then you will have a problem. She has to be able to demonstrate that she will continue to meet sponsorship income requirements. She’ll have to either be re-established with a new job, able to show liquid assets at/above 300% of the income shortfall, or get a joint sponsor.

  14. Hi – thanks for your article; very helpful. Two questions, if you don’t mind responding:

    1) Which transcript do I need to request from form 4506-T? There are three options to choose from: Return, Account, and Record of Account.
    2) My husband and I file joint returns; he is self-employed so no W-2 for him. His income alone is sufficient for joint sponsor, so I don’t need to use my income. With that, do we use his “business income” or still the “adjusted gross income” as the “individual income” requested on the I-864?

    Thank you kindly.

  15. Was given a paper that says recommended for approval after my aos interview..what does it mean because it’s over two weeks now i have no update online….update still says interview scheduled…I have not seen my green card or anything please help

    1. Hi, Beth: Cards can easily take 90 days to be produced and mailed. Usually the case status would have been updated if the officer made a decision, but they’re permitted to take even longer than two weeks if needed to review the file. Basically it’s too early to think there’s any problem.

          1. Hi Greg yea we were u know what the issue might be i have not gotten any update online, mailbox or text’s over two weeks… u have an idea of what went wrong…please reply im worried

    2. Does that mean I was not approved on the spot. The officer told me I was approved and printed the interview result paper which states that I was recommended for approval and would get my green card in two weeks..I don’t understand im worried

  16. Hi Greg. I hope you are doing well. I have a question please. I am about to fill out an I-864 as a joint sponsor for a friend. My income is sufficient but I filed 2016 tax jointly with my wife. She does not want to be part of it. I will put the income in my W2 form in the box for “Individual Income” and our combined income on our 1040 tax returns in the box for “Household Income” Since I’m not using my wife’s income and she is not going to fill out an I-864A do I still have to put her information in any of the boxes in Part 6, boxes 3 to14? If not will USCIS question how I arrived at the Household income which is higher than my individual income? Please help. I’m confused. Thank you.

    1. Hi, John: You are thinking along the right lines. For a married sponsor, if only one household member’s income will be counted then you will need to provide the documentation by which USCIS can see that the one household member has adequate income. In the clearest example that would be income returns plus a W-2. But the other household member’s income would not need to be reported on the Form I-864. Please note that depending on the law in your state, a couple may be jointly liable under the I-864 even if only one spouse signs on the form, as marital obligations are sometimes held jointly.

  17. I am petitioning my mother and the income tax I do together with my spouse, in the last year all the income corresponds to my husband, in the I 864 my current income I put 0 0 I put the number that we declared together? My husband has to fill the I 864 A?

    1. Hi, Maria: The I-130 petitioner is required to file an I-864. If the petitioner’s household income is entirely from a spouse, then that spouse needs to complete the I-864A to make it “available” to the I-130 petitioner for consideration on her I-864.

  18. Hi Greg,
    Quick question. My sponsors IRS tax returns show below poverty line for 2015 but has been working a job since August that brings them over 125% now. Should we still fill out section 7 assets section etc which still wouldn’t be x5 what is needed… or leave blank and show proof of new income?..Job letter with salary amount and also 6 months of pay slips?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi, Dar: As a rule of thumb we like to see at least 6 months of a given employment for use on the I-864. You mention 2015 tax returns, but 2016 are the ones that would be at issue now. We recommend clients get their current years returns filed before completing the I-864. This prevents a possible RFE for the returns.

      1. Great thanks. I meant 2016! So if current income is above poverty guidelines. But total income on 2016 tax returns wasn’t as job started in august we can skip the asset section and attach copy of job contract and pay slips?


  19. Hi Greg! Quick question- I’m a U.S.citizen living in Brazil for the last 6 years with my Brazilian husband. We just been approved for our I-130, and now awaiting instructions for the interview & biometric stages. Regarding the I-864, I’m worried that I won’t be eligible to apply as my husband’s sponsor, as we’re both living outside of the U.S. currently. While our plan is for me to move home a bit earlier to prep for his arrival and to try to find a job, what if I’m not able to find work in time for his arrival, and also can I even file for being his sponsor if I haven’t moved back to the U.S. at the time of filing the I-864? Would it be possible to have my retired mother apply as his sponsor? Also, as my husband will be working all the way up until he leaves for the U.S. and is saving up money- will it suffice to show evidence of our Savings Account? Any info would help! Thanks!

  20. Hi Greg, my wife is a USC (born in California) and she is filing !-130 concurrent with I-485 for me (green card). Her income in 2016 is less than $10,000 but it was $48,000 in 2014 and $68,000 in 2015 as listed in 1099. Is it risky to submit I-864 with only 2016 tax return and all 3 years 1099 copies? She also includes my annual income ($105,000) in her I-864, will this be enough to not get rejected? What documents should I provide? Thanks

    1. Hi, Lee: Your packet won’t be rejected if USCS perceives a problem with sponsor income. You’d be issued a Request for Evidence directing you to provide more evidence of sponsor or to get a co-sponsor. Your income can be counted only if you are lawfully employed in the US and that employment will continue.

      1. Hi, Thanks for getting back to me. I am lawfully employed in the US under H1-B by a Public company and I have been on H1B since 2013.10. I joined current company in October 2016 and I have asked them to provide an employment letter indicating my position, my starting date and salary.

        I have been living with my wife since September 2016 which is more than 6 months now. Anything else I need to provide so I don’t need to provide additional evidence since it may delay my application.

        Also, How long usually can one get the temporary green card from the day application sent?

        Many thanks!

  21. Hi soundimmigration,
    Thank you so much for this article. I have a question for you…
    My spouse the US Citizen sponsor, we filled the I-864 Form, and I received this: “The petitioner/sponsor on form I-864, Affidavit of Support, must submit a complete Federal income tax return submitted to the internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the most recent tax year. 2015/2016” We already sent all the taxes docs, I do not understand what is the additional information/documents that they need. Would you please bring me an idea that I should do? Thank you

  22. Since filing the I130 for my husband, I became disabled and my income alone does not meet the minimum poverty guidelines. We have a joint sponsor, do both of us fill out a separate I864?
    thank you

      1. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide assistance here.
        So, 864 is being processed. But it has been since November/December that we filed the I485, and we submitted the 765 at the same time.
        As we jump through all their hoops of requests for evidence, none of the requests aoply to the 765.
        Cant my husband get a temp permit to work in the meantime? We are really struggling since i am now unable to work.
        How would we request this?
        Thanks so much

        1. Hi, Robin: If everything is filed properly, temporary work authorization should come through within 3-4 months of when the adjustment packet and I-765/I-131 “combo card” request is filed. If it hasn’t, your local USCIS office should be willing to stamp a permit unless the card has been printed and is in the mail.

  23. Hi soundimmigration,
    Thank you for this article. I have a question…
    My spouse the US Citizen sponsor, is a self-employed artist, works for Uber and Lyft, and has just been employed by a company (but still has to file tax as self-employed)… His current income is above the poverty guideline but his previous tax return does not show enough income.

    We only have bank statements – which shows deposits from Lyft&Uber and his art. We can also get a letter from recent employer. but we have no pay stubs.

    Question is: Can we use 6 months bank statements & letter of employment to show income. Will it be sufficient?

    1. Hi, Beth: Those are tough cases. Yes, you can theoretically prove income with bank statements and a letter of employment. Do a very complete job, however, as these cases often result in additional Requests for Evidence.

  24. I got an rfe which goes thus
    *you must submit evidence to establish that the petitioner on firm i130 is a united States citizen
    *the petitioner/sponsor on form i864 affidavit of support must submit a complete federal income tax return submitted to the internal revenue for the most recent tax year.if not required to file attach a written explanation of why you are not required to file.
    * the household member submitted form be considered as a household member the individual must be listed as a dependent on d sponsor federal income tax return or must reside in the same address.submit evidence that the household member is listed as a dependent or residence in the same address.if u decided to obtain a joint sponsor they will need to: file format i864, provide copies of most recent tax returns, provide copies of all supporting tax document (w2s ,1099s, form 2555 and tax schedule ), lawful permanent resident.

    Here are my questions.
    (1)I submitted petitioner birth certificate and drivers license when I posted the they still request for evidence what do i do?

    (2) the petitioner/ sponsor is unemployed and has never filed for tax return due to no income.the petitioner went to irs office and was given letter of verification for non filing of tax. This was also submitted when we sent the forms.what do i do they are still requesting to submit complete federal tax return or write an explanation of why not required to file,,what do i do?.also do we fill a new i864 , what will be the income is it 0.000 because petitioner does not have a job.please advise

    (3) the joint sponsor mistakeny filled form i864a which is for houshold member instead of i864.what do we do?
    The joint sponsor has 3most recent years tax return transcript, 10 years lawful permanent resident, w2 for the most recent years which is 2015. What else is needed…do we just fill a new i864 without explaining to uscis that the i864a was a mistake on the joint sponsor part

    Please how to i respond to this rfe with the request and response I gave? Please help me

    1. Sisi: These questions are too complex to provide you with guidance on this forum. We recommend you get the assistance of an attorney to fix these multiple mistakes. Otherwise, you are risking further mistakes that will cause even more delays.

  25. For a principal sponsor (petitioner/spouse) who is unemployed but we have a joint sponsor whose income is above poverty there something to worry about with the unemployed spouse (petitioner)with annual income.please advise

  26. I filed the form I-864 with a joint sponsor. The joint sponsor recently changed jobs so he only has 4 months pay stubs from his new job which I attached ( not up to 6 months). I also attached his 2015 W2 and 1040 tax forms. From your experience do you think this is enough supporting documents ? Both old and new job he earns over $100k/year and he’s married with no kids yet.

    Thank you

    1. Hi, John: We always tell our clients that a minimum of 6 months is ideal. But you might be able to squeeze by with 4. We recommend providing not just pay stubs but also a letter from the employer explaining the job and that it is ongoing.

  27. I am currently filing a I-864 for my wife. She is currently in Macau. I have not made enough to meet the minimum income requirement for the last 3 years but we have substantial savings accounts and also several houses and land paid for here in US. Also I am self- employed here and also work part time while in Macau as a teacher. Should we have any problems meeting the requirements using just our assets?

    1. Hi, Al: Yes, assets can theoretically meet sponsorship requirements, even for someone who lacks any income. They would need to be 3x the required income for the household size. The sponsor would need to demonstrate – to the satisfaction of USCIS/NVC – that the assets can be converted to cash in the US within 365 days.

  28. I completed the I-864A however I think I did this in error. My husband is the sole sponsor and I am not working but thought because we live together thought I would be Household member (didn’t read instruction properly). How do I rectify this without getting my case declined?
    Just got text that RFE was sent to me…..I will be grateful for your advice.

  29. Pls I want to know my actual income on my Tax transcript bcos I can only see a big amount on my wages, income and tip. I don’t know if that is my income?

    1. Hi, Oghor: I’m not 100% sure what the question is, but if you have requested your transcripts from the IRS then income is either total or total adjusted income as described in our guide.

  30. Thank you for this wealth of information! I have a question about using foreign assets: I am the primary sponsor but my taxable income has been 0 for the past three years because I worked in France. We have a joint sponsor whose personal income of $40,000+ is enough to sponsor my husband (we used her Schedule C to separate her income from her spouse’s, and also provided a copy of their 1040).

    I wanted to use my French savings account as an additional asset, with bank statements from the past year translated into English as proof. The current balance is around 17,000 EUR. My logic was essentially to show that I’m not totally broke despite the $0 income on my tax returns. But after reading this, I’m worried that I’m opening up a can of worms by including assets in Euros. Do you think translated bank statements from a large French bank are likely to cause more trouble than they’re worth, or will the cash value work in my favor?

    1. Hi, Catherine: I think “opening a can of worms” is probably a good way to put it. At the very least, in using foreign assets I would provide a letter from you banking institution, offering an opinion about how quickly the assets (all of them) could be transferred to a US banking institution in USD if required. If you have a joint sponsor waiting in the wings, I’d probably be inclined to say “yes please.”

      1. Thanks for your response! I think I will avoid opening the can of worms and just depend on our joint sponsor. It was just going to be a little extra in addition to the joint sponsor, but it doesn’t sound like it’s worth it. Thank you for the advice!

  31. We concurrently filed the I-130 and I-485 with all the supporting documents. Application was received by USCIS Sep 29th. And my spouse’ Biometric appointment was scheduled on Oct 26th and had it done.

    However, we got a mail Oct 25, saying they need more information on I-864 (revision date 7/02/2015). I am a USC sponsoring my spouse and stepchild under 14 years old. My CURRENT income is $44k. My THREE MOST RECENT YEARS INCOME are:

    2015: $41210
    2014: $40699
    2013: $34766

    When we were filling out the form, we forgot to type the information on page 3 part 4, the form does not have sponsor’s name on item 1a-1c but was able to write the address on items 2a-2i. We got a letter requesting:

    1.) Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, was submitted; however; Page 3, part 4 of the petitioner/sponsor’s Form I-864 list
    someone other than the petitioner/sponsor or Page 3, part 4 is blank.

    (Submit a completed and signed Form I-864, for the petitioner/sponsor listed on Form I-130 or Form I-129F. Even if a joint sponsor will be used. Also, provide copies of the petitioner/sponsor’s most recent federal income tax returns and all supporting documents (W-2, 1099s, Form 2555, and tax schedules)

    2.) Form I-864 Affidavit support was submitted from a joint sponsor; however, the names listed on Page 1 and page 3 are not the same.

    (Submit a completed an signed Form I-864, from a joint sponsor, provide copies of the most recent federal income tax returns,
    all supporting tax document and evidence of their status).

    1.) Is this is because we forgot to fill out sponsor’s name on those blanks? Will an updated Form I-864 and all supporting documents be enough for this?

    2.) We really don’t have a joint sponsor and did not put any other name. Is this because we left those spaces blank?

    1. Hi, Leyn: I’m afraid this is far more case-specific than I can advise you about without actually being involved in your case. Any single error on the I-864 can cause it to be rejected, and it sounds like there may have been at least one.

  32. I am petitioning for my father on the first can I use the I864ez ? I work part-time and collect social security disability. What evidence is needed. I have transcripts for the earned income and the ssa 1099 for the unearned income is this ok,

    1. Hi, Monica: Please read the I-864 EZ instructions to see if you qualify to file. My firm, as a matter of practices, always files I-864 (standard forms) to avoid USCIS or NVC second-gueessing us.

  33. “III.6 Part 6 – Sponsor’s Employment and Income” section of this article says- Part 6, line 2 is my individual income, and Part 6, line 15 is household income. If my income is $80,000 and spouse income is $50,000, our last year joint income was $130,000 and I don’t want to use income from my spouse to support. What should I put in line 2 and line 15?

    1. Hi, Nazmul: You’re permitted to use only your income and not include the income of your spouse. Especially if this is a National Visa Center case, you need to be very sure that you are demonstrating your own separate income. I always recommend getting your official IRS tax transcript if feasible for you.

  34. Based on the form I-864… how would i report current individual income when my job isn’t based on a steady salary. sometimes i go a few weeks without working and i just recently got a new job.
    also, may i used vehicles as assets or do i need to get a joint sponsor since i’m below the requirement.

    1. Hi, Tameka: If your 2015 federal income returns were about 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines then you don’t need to do anything additional (just supply the returns or transcript). But if your most recent returns were less than the requirement, then you should provide at least 6 months of pay stubs documenting what you are now earning.

      Hope that helps!

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