Affidavit of Support
You are here: Home \ Affidavit of Support
Affidavit of Support by Arizona Immigration Lawyer John Messing

In General

An Affidavit of Support is a contract with the US Government using the immigration form I-864. A sponsor of an immigrant must show enough income and/or assets to keep the intending immigrant(s) at a modest standard of living set by the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which also make allowance for a family's size. If an intending immigrant obtains one of the forbidden Federal, State or local welfare benefits, the agency can sue a sponsor for the cost of the benefits paid out.

Even with a qualifying Affidavit of Support, an immigration official can require other proof of financial ability of an intending immigrant.

Affidavits of support are required by a number of immigration processes, such as adjustment of status cases before USCIS and the Immigration courts, and in consular processing of immigration visa petitions. These are some of the ways to obtain permanent residency.

The Poverty Guidelines are updated periodically, Click the link to view the most current USCIS Poverty Guidelines.


Special Poverty Guidelines apply to both Alaska and Hawaii, but all other areas are lumped together under a single Poverty Guideline. Members on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are sponsoring a wife, husband, or child must show 100% of the Poverty Guidelines; all other sponsors must show 125%. (Affidavit of Support requirements for fiance visas may be different, in that only a 100% rate of income is required, and a different form, the I-134, is required.) The Guidelines require an increasing level of qualifying income as a household's size increases. Therefore it is essential to correctly determine the number of dependents in the household in accordance with the affidavit of support instructions in order properly to apply the Poverty Guidelines to a particular sponsor and his or her household. To obtain a quick idea of whether a sponsor's income may be sufficient under the Poverty Guidelines, consult the Affidavit of Support Calculator™, which is a free online service of Messing Law Offices.


An Affidavit of Support obligation lasts until citizenship is attained, permanent residency is lost, or 40 quarters of social security wages has been earned by the intending immigrant. In certain cases, the work of a spouse or parent can be included as qualifying quarters. If an intending immigrant has been working for 40 quarters or more lawfully prior to filing the immigrant petition, a special Form I-864W is used in place of the Affidavit of Support, An Affidavit of Support obligation also ends if the sponsor or the sponsored immigrant dies or if the sponsored immigrant ceases to be a lawful permanent resident and departs the United States.

Divorce of a spouse who is an intending immigrant does not end a sponsorship obligation previously undertaken.

Try the Affidavit of Support Calculator™ to see if a sponsor qualifies.

Not Permitted
These welfare benefits are subject to reimbursement from a sponsor and cannot be listed as income in an Affidavit of Support.

  • Food stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

The following types of assistance are not considered means tested public benefits and are not subject to reimbursement from a sponsor:

  • Emergency Medicaid
  • School lunches
  • Immunizations and treatment for communicable diseases
  • Student assistance to attend colleges and institutions of higher learning
  • Some kinds of foster care or adoption assistance
  • Job training programs
  • Head start
  • Short-term, non-cash emergency relief

Tucson Family Based Adjustment of Status Attorney: Messing Law Offices.

Principal Sponsors
Sponsors must be US citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18 who maintain a domicile in the United States, including a territory or possession of the United States. For an immediate relative, the US citizen will also usually be the principal sponsor signing the Affidavit of Support.

Taxes and Wages

To qualify, a sponsor must provide a copy of the tax return and W-2 or 1099 proof of income for the most recent taxable year and provide total income figures (line 22 of the form 1040) for the previous two years before that. Optionally, the sponsor can attach the tax returns and W-2 or 1099 forms for all three previous years and/or provide a letter of employment from a current employer or check stubs for the past 6 months showing the level of pay.

Joint Sponsors

If the principal sponsor is not eligible, a joint sponsor can be added, but in that case, the household members of the joint sponsor are added to the number of persons being sponsored to arrive at the requisite level of income needed for the joint sponsor under the Guidelines. The principal sponsor and joint sponsor must each meet the age, domicile and citizenship or permanent resident status requirements before a joint sponsor's participation is acceptable. A joint sponsor does not need to be a relative of either the principal sponsor or the adjusting individual. Income of a sponsor and of a joint sponsor cannot be pooled in order to arrive at an income figure that meets the requirements of the Guidelines. For assistance, consult Messing Law Offices' free Affidavit of Support Calculator™.

If there are multiple adjusting individuals under a single petition, then it is possible to divide up the number of sponsored individuals between joint sponsors and have certain ones sponsored by one joint sponsor and others by a different joint sponsor, up to a maximum of two joint sponsors for each petition for alien relative or family-related employee.

Substitute Sponsors

If a petitioner who filed an I-130 petition for an alien relative dies, another sponsor can file a substitute Affidavit of Support. Such a substitute sponsor must in addition to the other requirements of a sponsor also be related to the intending immigrant as a spouse, parent,mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or legal guardian. In addition to filing with a substitute sponsor, the intending immigrant must seek humanitarian reinstatement of the I-130 petition, which ordinarily terminates on the death of the I-130 sponsor prior to the grant of permanent residency. Consult Messing Law Offices' free Affidavit of Support Calculator™.

Asset Use

Assets in addition to or in place of actual household income earned can be used to qualify as a sponsor or joint sponsor.

Usable assets can include savings, stocks, bonds and property. They must be easily convertible into cash within one year and without considerable hardship or financial loss. The net value of a home (value established by a recent licensed appraisal less liens) can be used. The net value of an automobile cannot be used if it is the only car available for use.

Assets that a sponsor owns abroad, such as real and personal property, can also qualify, under certain conditions:

They must be readily convertible to cash within 12 months

The applicant must show that he/she can take the money or assets out of the country where they are located. Many countries have strict controls over movements of cash or liquid assets across their borders.

Income plus Assets

To use the assets combined with income first determine the amount of shortfall by which the actual income falls below the required income requirement under the Poverty Guidelines,

Next convert the net value of assets to income equivalents.

If foreign assets are used, the total value of qualifying assets must equal at least five times the difference.

Otherwise, for a U.S. citizen who is sponsoring a spouse or minor child, the total value of qualifying assets must equal at least three times the difference.

The affidavit of sponsors of foreign orphans who will acquire citizenship after admission to the United States need only prove assets in the amount of the difference between the Poverty Guideline and actual household income, without a multiple for a conversion factor.

For all others, the total value of qualifying assets must equal at least five times the difference.

Finally, add the value of the converted assets to the income figures to determine if the household income requirement under the Poverty Guidelines is met.

The calculations to convert assets to qualifying income levels for Affidavits of Support can be confusing, including which formula applies. If you want to discuss filing a qualifying petition for or from a relative, company, employee or investor, contact Messing Law Offices for a free telephonic evaluation or to schedule an initial consultation.