One of the critical forms that needs to be completed by a U.S. citizen who is looking to sponsor an immigrant family member is the Affidavit of Support (I-864). The form lays out the guidelines and conditions under which a U.S. citizen must aid financially an intending immigrant when they arrive in the United States, and up until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen or has been credited with 40 quarters of work. Thus the I-864 is a serious document that is essentially a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government on behalf of the principal applicant.

However, not every U.S. citizen will be eligible to sign an affidavit of support due to financial reasons. U.S. immigration uses federal poverty guidelines to determine one's household income per their household size to see if the individual in question can actually support an intending immigrant. This is where the I-864A comes in handy. The I-864A is a contract between another household member who is living with the sponsor and the intending immigrant. To be clear on who is considered a household member, see the following list:

  • A spouse, parent, or other child at least 18 years of age living in the same household as the original sponsor
  • Any other individual whom the original sponsor has claimed as a dependent on their most recent Federal income tax return even if the person does not live at the same residence as the sponsor

Considerations for the Household Member

The household member who is, or will agree to submit an I-864A should know that this contract is very similar to the I-864. In other words, if the household member fails to support the intending immigrant, legal action could be brought against the household member in the same way the original sponsor could be sued if they fail to provide financial support for the intending immigrant.

Household sponsors completing the I-864A will also remain eligible for financially supporting an immigrant based on their income, or based on the amount of assets they have (while also factoring in liabilities). For example, a household member could be the owner of a very valuable property that they are renting out and bringing in considerable income while not having another source of employment.

Additionally, both the sponsor and the household sponsor should be aware of how long they are planning on financially supporting their immigrant family member and work out some type of deal with what they are willing to provide before signing. Generally, immigrants coming to the U.S. can secure a work permit via the working authorization USCIS form in as little as months. But it is up to the principal sponsor, the intending immigrant, and the household sponsor to have some type of plan for what is going to happen when they arrive in America. Household sponsors also might want to reconsider signing the I-864A if they feel as though they aren’t confident in the principal sponsor's abilities to provide financing.

Supporting Documents/Processing

Similar to the I-864, the applicant who is submitting the I-864A needs to present their annual W2s, and their federal income tax statements for the previous year. The household member must also prove their familial relationship to the principal sponsor through their birth certificate, ID, or some other means.  

Finally, the I-864A will also need to submit to a Biometrics appointment. If the household sponsor was recently involved in a DUI incident or has some other criminal record, they generally won’t be allowed to be an additional sponsor for the intending immigrant. This should be considered before starting the affidavit of support process in order to find the right sponsor for the intending immigrant.

There is currently no filing fee for the I-864A. The form can be accessed here.

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