Comparison Between I-134 and I-864
The I-134 and I-864 forms are distinct in their legal obligations, the scope of financial responsibility, and how long they remain valid. Understanding these differences is crucial for potential sponsors.
Legal Binding Differences
The Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, is a legally binding contract between a sponsor and the U.S. government. Sponsors using this form are required to support immigrants financially until they become U.S. citizens or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (typically 10 years). In contrast, the Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, is not enforceable by law and is typically used for temporary visitors to show they have financial support during their stay.
- Used for family-based and some employment-based immigrants.
- Requires the sponsor to demonstrate the ability to maintain an annual income of at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- Generally used for non-immigrant visa applicants, including fiancé(e)s and other temporary visitors.
- Less stringent in terms of the income requirement, and the sponsor must simply show that the visitor will not become a public charge.
The Form I-864 remains in effect until the immigrant either becomes a U.S. citizen, earns 40 quarters of work credits, permanently leaves the United States, or passes away. On the other hand, the Form I-134 is typically only valid for the period of the visitor’s stay in the U.S. and does not impose any long-term financial obligations on the sponsor after the visitor’s visa expires or they leave the country.