An affidavit of support is a document an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. The person who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor of the relative (or other individual) coming to live in the United States. The sponsor is usually the petitioner of an immigrant petition for a family member.
An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years).
The following individuals are required by law to submit a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, completed by the petitioner to obtain an immigrant visa or adjustment of status:
All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (which include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21, including orphans) and relatives who qualify for immigration to the United States under one of the family based preferences:
First Preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (Adult means 21 years of age or older).
Second Preference: Spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried sons and daughters (regardless of age) of permanent residents and their unmarried children.
Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their unmarried minor children.
Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens, their spouses and their unmarried minor children.
Employment based preference immigrants in cases only when a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative filed the immigrant visa petition, or such relative has a significant ownership interest (5% or more) in the entity that filed the petition.
Consular processing is an alternate process to adjustment of status for an individual outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) to obtain a visa abroad and enter the United States as a permanent resident) This pathway is referred to as “consular processing.”