Filling out Form I864 – Items to Avoid on the Document
It can be really intimidating to try to fill out Form I-864 with all of the different boxes that need to be checked. Perhaps the most important element in this entire process, though, is making sure to not make any marks on the boxes that have the legend “For USCIS Use Only.”
Another one of the boxes that intimidate people is located right at the top and asks for the personal information of the attorney who’s filling out the form. There’s no need for an attorney to sign this Affidavit of Support document unless it is, in fact, an attorney who’s completing the form.
There’s another element at the very end of Form I-864 that asks for the personal information of the person who filed the form. Those details need to be filled out when it wasn’t, in fact, the intending immigrant who filled out the form. Otherwise, all of those boxes need to be left blank.
What Can Happen If These Forms Get Filled out Incorrectly?
It depends on the severity of the issue. It’s one thing to have a typo or to accidentally fill out one of those boxes that are meant to be used by government officials. The forms are likely going to get sent back in these cases. This means it will take more time to obtain the immigrant visa.
The intending immigrant will likely be frustrated by the slow process, but as long as the documents are returned for revision before the appointment at the consulate, the consequences won’t be as severe. When the form gets sent back over a technicality, and applicants have already attended their appointment at the consular offices, the setback can be considerably more severe.
In those situations, consular officers can look unfavourably at the request, even if the intending immigrant returns with the right information a second time around. These issues could emerge not only while filling out Form I-864 but also other documents that are part of the process.
Each document needs to be filled out carefully to avoid setbacks in the process.
Lying on an Affidavit of Support Form
This is something that should never be done. People who lie on these forms can be hit with perjury charges. In these situations, not only will the sponsored immigrant never get a visa, but the financial sponsor will also be in court facing charges.
It’s important to ensure that the sponsor’s income stated in the Form I-864 document is backed by supporting documents. Assets such as cryptocurrency holdings may not look great on these forms unless the sponsor has paid a federal income tax on them.
Anything that’s claimed as an asset in the Form 1-864 form needs to appear in the financial sponsor’s income tax return documents. Otherwise, that financial sponsor could get themselves in trouble with the IRS.
Ways to Get Help Filling Out These Documents
Traditionally, hiring a law firm to oversee these cases was the only way to get help filling out these forms. In some situations, these law firms ended up charging large amounts of money just because they had people who knew the proper way to apply for these visas.
The correct form to solicit these visas comes down to knowing what to write down on the Form I-864 document. These days, sites such as this one can provide support forms to give people a sense of what they must do to complete the form.
People don’t need to pay for overly expensive immigration services, especially when there’s a family-based sponsor who has the necessary assets to accept financial responsibility for their family member.
When Do Supporting Documents Get Added to the Application?
The Form I-864 document has been properly completed at this point in the process. What happens with the rest of the supporting documentation? When does that need to be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC)?
In the past, many of these documents needed to be presented directly to the consular officers when an appointment was set. Since the pandemic, some of these requirements have changed. Many supporting documents are now sent along with the initial request, that is Form I-864.
Regardless of when each document must be presented to the U.S. government, it’s a good idea to keep everything on file and have it ready on the day of the appointment. Consular officers may request very specific information during the interview process. Arriving at that interview fully prepared is a must.
Things Sponsors Should Know about Family-based Immigrants
There’s a good reason why most financial sponsors who would like to file Form I-864 are family members of the intending immigrant listed on the form. The petitioning sponsor becomes responsible for the impending immigrant for a long time.
That’s why most companies who want to sponsor immigrant workers will look into other visa options. The financial sponsor is expected to provide that financial support for more than 10 years in some cases. In fact, the commitment is so serious that divorce doesn’t remove the spouse from their sponsor duties if that’s how the other half of the couple obtained an immigrant visa.
When Do the Responsibilities of the Sponsor End?
Form I-864 does not expire unless the intending immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen or has worked 40 quarters of work in the country. Those 40 qualifying quarters can take up to 10 years to complete.
The only other reason that the form will expire is if the immigrant decides to leave the country.
Until any of these instances are met, the sponsor has a financial responsibility over the family member they helped immigrate to the United States. Due to the level of commitment that this immigration method requires, some people are unwilling to go through with the process.
Can an Intending Immigrant Self-Sponsor Their Visa?
If an intending immigrant can’t find financial support from family members, what can they do to obtain a visa? There are a couple of avenues that allow immigrants to self-sponsor their US visas. The E1 visa is a popular way for investors to live and work within the United States without having a formal job offer from a local company.
This visa is only available to foreign nationals from a limited set of countries that have trade treaties in place with the United States. It also requires people to show proof of having or planning large investments within the country.
Another option would be to apply for an EB1A visa, which is a “special immigrant” visa. The person who applies for this visa needs to prove that they are a gifted individual within their line of work. World-class athletes, scientists, and movie stars are some foreign nationals who can apply for this type of visa.
Exploring Options for Employment-Based Immigrants
As previously stated, not all employment-based immigrants will use the I-864 Affidavit of Support option to solicit entry into the country.
The trouble with many of these employment-based visa options is that the company sponsoring the immigrant has to prove the person has skills that are rare amongst US-based workers.
It’s not that the applicant must have a gold medal or an Academy Award, as may be the case with the EB1A visa. The process can still be complex and taxing, though. That’s why many companies will avoid it altogether if they can.
Situations Where a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support Application Makes Sense
There tend to be popular scenarios where family-based immigrants will heavily benefit from this type of visa application. Mothers of foreign workers who still live in their country of origin typically make their way to the United States after one of their offspring becomes a U.S. citizen.
The spouse or child of someone who’s been offered a job in the country will also benefit from this immigration method.
There are two issues that typically make this immigration method complicated. One of them is the minimum income requirement. That can be fixed through a joint sponsor alternative.
What could make this immigration method potentially unviable for larger families is the household member rules. The more people that live in the house, the more money and assets a sponsor needs to help their family member immigrate to the U.S.