Updated: Sep 28
Most green card applicants must have a U.S. sponsor who accepts financial responsibility for them upon arriving in the United States. An “Affidavit of Support” (Form I-864) is essentially a contract between the financial sponsor and the U.S. government, where the financial sponsor demonstrates that they meet the government’s income requirements. If the sponsoring family member does not meet the required eligibility requirements (125% above the federal poverty level), he or she would be able to have a joint sponsor complete an affidavit of support to supplement. Both the sponsor and joint sponsor's responsibility is to ensure that the foreign national spouse seeking a green card, does not become a public charge. A public charge is an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, such as food stamps and public assistance. The financial sponsor is essentially ensuring the government that the family member they intend to sponsor will not seek public assistance.
Some supporting evidence required with the Affidavit of Support include proof of current employment, such as a letter from your employer, copies of your pay stubs and w-2 forms. If you are self employed you can provide your tax returns, proof of your business corporation and articles of organization, business licenses if applicable and bank statements. Additional evidence include proof of any assets that you own, like a house or car. You can provide a copy of your mortgage or a deed as well.
USCIS will also want to know the monetary value of any assets that you own, including money in the bank. The sponsoring family member will also want to provide proof of filed taxes over the past three tax seasons.
If you happen to be applying for your green card, as a VAWA self-petitioner based on abuse or domestic violence then an affidavit of support is not necessary or required. Your green card application is a self-petition and your qualifying relative, who would typically be the one to file for you, is not part of the process, based on the simple fact he or she is your abuser. Since the government does not require the spouse of the VAWA applicant (in some cases parent or adult U.S. Citizen child), to take part in the application process, they also do not require or need proof of their financial support either. So the answer is no, an affidavit of support is not required for VAWA cases.⠀