In the decade I’ve been involved consulting in family based immigration to the United States, the affidavit of support, specifically the I-864 form used for immigrant visas or to adjust status, has been the subject of the most confusion, both for my clients and the do it yourself folks that contact when they realize they don’t understand how to properly complete it.
Sometimes the confusion happens before they even try to start completing the affidavit, but nearly as often, it is when either USCIS or the National Visa Center, have rejected the affidavit they’ve submitted.
The affidavit becomes more complicated when the petitioner/sponsor is self employed, and significantly more complicated if a joint sponsor is needed.
Here are a few common issues that cause problems.
Counting Your Spouse
Unintuitive as it may seem, when completing an affidavit for a spouse, the box that says, “If you are currently married, enter (1) for your spouse.” does not apply.
You do not enter a 1 there, because that would violate an earlier instruction, “NOTE: Do not count any member of your household more than once.”
Since your spouse is already counted as the intending immigrant, entering a 1, would make your family size incorrect on the form.
Self Employment “Revenue” and “Income”
A self employed person’s “current ” income will be the same number as entered in the prior tax return section, and it must be the number from the correct line of the tax return.
Self employed sponsors need to instruct their tax professionals they will not be filing an extension for the year in which they will complete their affidavit of support.
Consular Officers will delay their decision if the interview is after the tax filing deadline and no current tax return is provided.
For the self employed, it isn’t “income” until it appears on the “total income” line of a tax return. Don’t confuse “revenue” with “income”. Income is AFTER business expenses are deducted.
Joint Filing Spouse
When a qualified joint sponsor is married and files joint tax returns with their spouse, the appropriate form and signature from the joint filing spouse is required, whether their income is needed to qualify or even if they don’t have any income.
Do You Need Help?
If you are confused, having trouble with or have had your affidavit rejected by USCIS or the National Visa Center, we can help. This is the only “one off” service I will provide. Otherwise I either manage the process from beginning to end, from the middle to the end, or assisting after an initial soft denial of the visa, where additional documentation is requested.