Form I-864W: Deciphering the Intending Immigrant’s Exemption Application

Form I-864W is an exemption form used in the United States immigration process. It serves a specific purpose for applicants who are not required to have an Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This form is utilized when an intending immigrant is able to demonstrate the ability to maintain an income at or above 125% of the federal poverty level or has accrued 40 quarters of work in the United States, thereby forgoing the need for a sponsor to submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

Completing and submitting Form I-864W is a necessary step for eligible immigrants who are either certain types of employment-based immigrants, have earned or can be credited with 40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act, or are children who will become U.S. citizens under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 upon admission to the United States. The form requires information about the intending immigrant’s work history or the

applicable exemption category, and it can be filed either online or by mail with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The completion of this form accurately is essential as it is a declaration of self-sufficiency to the USCIS for those immigrants who meet the criteria for exemption.

Eligibility Criteria

Form I-864W is utilized by certain intending immigrants who are exempt from the Affidavit of Support requirement when applying for a U.S. green card. The following subsections outline the specific exemptions and qualifying criteria.

Exemptions

Certain individuals are not required to submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and can instead file Form I-864W, Exemption for Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Children: If the intending immigrant qualifies as a child to be adopted in the U.S. and will automatically acquire citizenship upon entry per the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
  • Self-petitioning Widows or Widowers: Those who enter on an immigrant visa as a self-petitioning widow or widower.
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles: If the intending immigrant has a visa classification that falls under Special Immigrant Juvenile status.
  • Long-term Residents: Those who have accumulated 40 quarters of work under the Social Security Act may also be exempt.

Qualifying Criteria

In order to use Form I-864W, an intending immigrant must meet specific criteria:

  • Child Citizenship Act: Must be under the age of 18 and immigrating to the U.S. to receive U.S. citizenship automatically under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 based on their parent’s citizenship.
  • Work Quarters: Must have earned or can receive credit for 40 qualifying quarters of work as defined by the Social Security Act.
  • Previous Petitions: If previously admitted as an immigrant or adjusted to permanent resident status based on a Form I-864 that another individual filed on one’s behalf, one may not need to file another Affidavit of Support.

Form I-864W Overview

Form I-864W, Request for Exemption for Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support, is a document used by certain categories of immigrants to show that they are not required to have a financial sponsor file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

Purpose of Form

The primary use of Form I-864W is to exempt certain immigrants from the requirement to have an Affidavit of Support. This exemption generally applies to:

  • Immigrants who can claim a certain number of qualifying quarters of work in the United States.
  • Immigrants who currently hold or are applying for an immigrant visa as self-petitioning widows or widowers.
  • Immigrants who are applying for an immigrant visa as battered spouses or children.

Differences from I-864

Form I-864W differs from the standard I-864 in several ways:

  • Purpose: While Form I-864 serves as a contract between a sponsor and the U.S. government to financially support a family-based immigrant, Form I-864W is a request to waive this requirement.
  • Applicants: I-864 is filled out by sponsors, whereas I-864W is completed by the intending immigrant themselves.
  • Requirements: Form I-864 requires the sponsor to prove they have income at or above 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, whereas Form I-864W does not require the demonstration of any income level.

Required Documentation

When filling out Form I-864W, it’s crucial to gather all necessary documentation to support the exemption request. These documents must be accurate and current to ensure the application is processed without delay.

Supporting Evidence

Applicants must provide evidence that substantiates their claim for exemption from the affidavit of support. The primary documents required include:

  • Birth Certificate: To establish the applicant’s identity and relationship to the petitioning sponsor.
  • Immigration Status Documents: For applicants who hold a specific immigrant category that qualifies them for the exemption.
  • Means-tested Public Benefits: Documentation may be needed if the exemption claim is based on receiving means-tested public benefits.

Proof of Status

Proof of status is required to confirm the applicant’s eligibility for the I-864W exemption. In this context, applicants must include:

  • Permanent Resident Status: A copy of both sides of the permanent resident card (Green Card), if already obtained.
  • U.S. Citizenship: A copy of the naturalization certificate, if the exemption is claimed on the basis that the applicant has become a U.S. citizen.

Completing the Form

When completing Form I-864W, it is critical that applicants provide accurate and complete information in two key areas: their personal details and their financial status. Incorrect or incomplete information can lead to delays or denials.

Personal Information

Applicants must provide their full legal name, date of birth, and mailing address. It is essential that the name matches other legal documents to ensure consistency. The form also requires the applicant’s Alien Registration Number (A-Number), Social Security Number (SSN), if applicable, and USCIS Online Account Number, which is optional.

  • Name: As listed on legal documents
  • A-Number: If previously provided by USCIS
  • SSN: If a number has been issued

Financial Information

Financial information is required to establish that the applicant meets the criteria for exemption from the traditional Affidavit of Support (I-864). The applicant must indicate their exemption category and provide evidence to support their claim. No financial sponsor is required if exempt. Typically, this section could be filled out by certain categories, like children who will automatically become U.S. citizens upon admission or individuals who have earned or can be credited with 40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act.

  • Exemption Category: Specify the grounds for exemption, such as a child becoming a U.S. citizen under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.
  • Evidence of Qualification: Attach relevant documentation such as birth certificates or proof of qualifying quarters worked.

Submission Process

The submission process for Form I-864W is a straightforward procedure that requires applicants to know the correct filing location and any associated fees.

Where to File

Form I-864W must be filed along with the applicant’s green card application. If the applicant is adjusting their status in the United States, Form I-864W should be sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that is currently processing their application. It is crucial to check the latest instructions provided by USCIS for the most up-to-date mailing addresses or electronic filing options, if available.

Filing Fee

USCIS requires no filing fee for Form I-864W. This waiver is due to the fact that the form is used to establish the applicant’s exemption from the Affidavit of Support requirements usually associated with Form I-864. The exemption negates the need for a financial sponsorship commitment, thereby eliminating the need for a processing fee for this particular form.

After Submission

Submitting Form I-864W is a critical step for certain immigrants who wish to demonstrate they are exempt from the standard affidavit of support requirement. Once the form has been submitted, there are several key updates applicants should be aware of, starting with the receipt notice and followed by the processing timeline.

Receipt Notice

After submitting Form I-864W, the applicant should receive a Receipt Notice from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This notice confirms USCIS has received the form and provides a tracking number, which can be used to check the status of the application. The notice typically arrives within 2-3 weeks of submission.

Processing Time

The Processing Time for Form I-864W can vary depending on the workload at USCIS and other factors. Historically, applicants can expect it to take several months.

  • Current average processing time: 5-7 months
  • Factors influencing processing time:
    • USCIS case load
    • Accuracy and completeness of the application
    • Background check results

Applicants can check their case status online using the provided receipt number. It is important for applicants to monitor their email or physical mail for any communications from USCIS regarding additional information or decisions on their submission.

Common Questions

What is Form I-864W? Form I-864W, the Request for Exemption for Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support, is used by certain immigrants to show that they are exempt from the requirement of the affidavit of support typically required in family-based green card applications.

Who can use Form I-864W instead of Form I-864? Form I-864W can be used by:

  • Children who will become U.S. citizens under the Child Citizenship Act upon entry to the United States.
  • Immigrants who have earned or can receive credit for 40 qualifying quarters of work in the U.S.
  • Self-petitioning widows or widowers with a pending or approved Form I-360.
  • Self-petitioning battered spouses or children with a pending or approved Form I-360.

What information is required on Form I-864W?

  • Personal Details: Name, Address, Date of Birth.
  • Qualifying Information: Evidence of meeting the criteria for exemption such as evidence of U.S. citizen’s child or proof of 40 qualifying quarters of work in the United States.

Is there a fee for Form I-864W? No, there is no fee for filing Form I-864W.

Where do applicants file Form I-864W? The form should be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the applicant’s green card application (Form I-485) or included in the visa packet for consular processing.

Tips for a Successful Application

When applying for an exemption from the affidavit of support using Form I-864W, applicants must ensure that all information is accurate and complete. Here are key tips to help secure a successful application:

  • Eligibility: Confirm that the applicant meets one of the exemption categories: as an applicant who has earned or can receive credit for 40 qualifying quarters of work in the U.S., as a child who will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, or as a self-petitioning widow(er).
  • Documentation: Attach clear copies of supporting documents. For those claiming 40 qualifying quarters, provide Social Security statements and employment records. For children under the Child Citizenship Act, include proof of the parent’s U.S. citizenship and the child’s permanent residence status. For widow(er)s, provide evidence of the marriage to the deceased U.S. citizen and proof of the citizen’s death.
  • Accuracy: Fill out the form precisely, double-checking all entered data. Do not leave any required fields blank.
  • Signatures: Ensure the form is signed as USCIS will reject unsigned forms. Both the printed name and signature of the applicant are necessary.
  • Up-to-date Form: Use the most current version of Form I-864W available on the USCIS website. Outdated forms may be rejected.

Here is a simple checklist for review before submission:

Checklist Item Completed
Verified eligibility [ ]
Attached supporting documents [ ]
Reviewed for accuracy [ ]
Signed the form [ ]
Used current form version [ ]

Following these steps rigorously will help ensure that the application is processed smoothly by the immigration authorities.