Form I-134 Supporting Documents: A Complete Checklist for Affidavit of Support Applicants

Form I-134, also known as the Declaration of Financial Support, is an essential document for nonimmigrant visa applicants to the United States who must demonstrate they will not become a public charge during their stay. This form is submitted by a sponsor who agrees to financially support the visa applicant, providing a guarantee to cover expenses related to the applicant’s visit. The sponsor’s obligation is usually limited to the duration of the beneficiary’s temporary stay in the United States.
Submitting Form I-134 includes providing various supporting documents to substantiate the information provided on the form. These documents typically include proof of the sponsor’s identity, evidence of income, employment, or financial stability. They serve to establish the sponsor’s ability to support the visitor and may encompass tax returns, bank statements, or letters from an employer. It is crucial for the sponsor to ensure that all documentation reflects current and accurate financial information to prevent any delays or issues with the visa application process.

Eligibility Criteria

Form I-134 is utilized to demonstrate a sponsor’s financial ability to support an immigrant. This section explicates the eligibility requirements for sponsors who seek to use Form I-134.

Sponsorship Requirements

To sponsor, ensure eligibility: U.S. citizenship or lawful residency, age 18+, and commitment to financially support on forms I-134 during the immigrant’s U.S. stay.

Income Thresholds

A sponsor must have an income that exceeds 100% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines. The income level serves as an assurance that the sponsor can support the immigrant without relying on public funds.

Residency Status

The sponsors should maintain a residence in the United States to effectively uphold their commitment. They are expected to provide documentation confirming their residency status alongside Form I-134.

Required Documentation

When filing Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, the sponsor must provide a range of documents to substantiate the information provided in the form. These documents demonstrate the sponsor’s ability to financially support the intended beneficiary and are essential for the form’s approval by USCIS.

Proof of Sponsor’s Citizenship

The sponsor should provide evidence of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident status. This could include a copy of a:

  • Birth certificate (if the sponsor was born in the United States),
  • Passport, or
  • Green card.

Employment Verification

An employment verification letter is needed to confirm the sponsor’s current employment status. The letter ought to:

  • State the sponsor’s position,
  • Include salary information, and
  • Be dated with contact information for verification.

Income Tax Returns

The sponsor’s most recent tax returns validate their financial history. These should include:

  • Form 1040 and associated schedules,
  • W-2s, and/or
  • 1099s if applicable.

Bank Statements

Recent bank statements offer a snapshot of the sponsor’s financial health. They should provide:

  • The current balance,
  • Average balances over the past year, and
  • Any other proof of funds or assets.

Proof of Relationship

Evidence of the relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiary underpins the sponsorship commitment. Documents could entail:

  • Marriage certificates, if applicable,
  • Birth certificates, or
  • Correspondence that confirms the relationship’s validity.

Form I-134 Details

Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, is a document used by individuals to show they can financially support a non-immigrant while they are in the United States.

Completing the Form

To properly complete Form I-134, the sponsor must provide detailed information regarding their financial status. This includes current employment and income, bank account balances, and any assets or liabilities. The sponsor needs to ensure that all fields are filled out accurately to avoid delays in the processing of the form.

Declaration and Certification

The final section of Form I-134 requires a declaration and certification by the sponsor. This is a legally binding statement where the sponsor certifies under penalty of perjury that the information provided is true and correct. The sponsor’s signature must be original on the submitted form, and it signifies acceptance of financial responsibility for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the U.S.

Submission Guidelines

When preparing to submit Form I-134, applicants must adhere to specific guidelines regarding the filing location and submission deadlines to ensure their application is processed in a timely manner.

Filing Location

Applicants must submit Form I-134 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The exact address can vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances, so one should consult the USCIS website or their legal representative for the most current filing location. It is crucial that the form is sent to the correct address to avoid delays.

Deadlines

The deadline to submit Form I-134 typically aligns with the beneficiary’s visa application. There is no separate deadline for the affidavit itself, but it must be submitted before or alongside the beneficiary’s visa application. Applicants should check with the USCIS or the U.S. consulate handling the beneficiary’s visa application for specific instructions regarding the timing of the submission.

Additional Evidence

When filing Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, applicants must supplement their application with corroborating evidence. This additional documentation is crucial in establishing the veracity of the financial support being declared.

Support Letters

Support letters from friends or family members can strengthen an I-134 form by providing social proof of the applicant’s financial stability. These letters should be personalized and include:

  • The supporter’s relationship to the applicant.
  • A clear statement of intent to provide financial support.
  • Details of the financial assistance offered (e.g., housing, monthly expenses).

Additional Affidavits

Affidavits from other individuals who can attest to the applicant’s financial situation can be invaluable. Such affidavits should:

  • Be sworn statements from individuals knowing the applicant’s financial circumstances.
  • Include specific financial figures and potentially other forms of support promised.
  • Reflect the duration for which support is being committed.

Post-Submission Process

After submitting Form I-134, it is crucial for the applicant to understand the next steps in the process, including what communications to expect from USCIS and how to handle additional requests for information.

USCIS Receipt Notice

Once Form I-134 is submitted, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue a Receipt Notice. This document confirms USCIS has received the affidavit of support and provides a unique case number that can be used to track the application’s progress. The receipt typically arrives within two to three weeks after submission.

Request for Evidence

If USCIS requires more information or documentation to make a decision, they will send a Request for Evidence (RFE). The RFE will specifically detail what additional proof or clarification is needed. Recipients must respond by the deadline given in the notice, usually within 60 to 90 days, to avoid delays or denial. It is essential to provide only the evidence requested to ensure a smooth process.

Interview Preparation

Proper preparation for the interview can greatly increase the chances of Form I-134 being accepted. It is important to understand what questions may be asked and what documents need to be prepared and brought to the interview.

Possible Questions

Interviewees should be prepared to answer specific questions about their relationship with the beneficiary and their financial situation. They may be asked:

  • How do they know the beneficiary and how long have they known them?
  • What is their current employment status and income level?
  • How do they plan to support the beneficiary financially during their stay?

Supporting Document Checklist

Applicants must bring a comprehensive set of documents to the interview to substantiate the information provided in Form I-134. The following checklist outlines the essential documents:

  • Proof of Identity: Valid passport or government-issued ID.
  • Proof of Income: Recent tax returns, employment letters, and pay stubs.
  • Proof of Relationship: Correspondence, photos, or other evidence.
  • Bank Statements: Several months’ worth of statements to show financial stability.
  • Evidence of Assets: Property deeds, investment accounts, or other assets.