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One of the Biggest Issues in the Visa Process - Affidavits of Support (I-864)

If you are applying for an immigrant visa it is very important to make sure you have all the required documents so that you do not have to keep returning to the Consular Section.  One document that is typically missing or incomplete is the Affidavit of Support (AOS, also called I-864 (visit http://www.uscis.gov/, click on “Immigration Forms”).

First, the petitioner must submit an AOS and include his or her most recent tax return.  If the petitioner did not file taxes, he or she must include a letter explaining the reason why; for example if he or she is currently earning social security or unemployed.

Second, if the petitioner does not earn enough money to sponsor the applicant, then a joint sponsor is required.  To determine how much money one must earn to sponsor an applicant, review the guidelines posted at http://www.travel.state.gov/  

The income required is contingent on how many dependents the sponsor has and how many immigrants they are sponsoring or have sponsored previously.  If the sponsor is married, their spouse must complete a household member agreement (I-864A, http://www.uscis.gov/) to show that they also agree to sponsor the immigrant.

Third, ensure that the petitioner, joint sponsor and household member all include a photocopy of proof of their U.S. citizenship or their Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status.  A sponsor must be either a U.S. citizen or an LPR.  A driver’s license, military ID or Social Security card are NOT proof of U.S. citizenship or LPR status.

Finally, you must make sure that the AOS contains the original signature of the petitioner, the sponsor and family members (if applies), not a photocopy.  It is not acceptable for the sponsor to send you the documents via fax.   If you complete all these steps, you will save yourself several return trips to the Consular Section.