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I-134 Affidavit of Support: A complete guide

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into Form I-134, explaining exactly what its purpose is, as well as how to go about filling it out and filing it. 

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I-134 Affidavit of Support: A Complete Guide

According to Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), foreign nationals are not permitted to enter the United States if a Department of Homeland Security Officer, an officer of the U.S. Department of State, or an immigration judge who is deciding an immigrant’s admission application determines that he or she will become a public charge. As per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a public charge is someone who relies on the government for public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP), or any other type of support. Therefore, any noncitizen who is attempting to enter the United States on a temporary visa or who is attempting to adjust his or her visa status to obtain lawful permanent residence (a green card) will be prohibited from entering the country or will not be approved for permanent residency if it is determined that he or she is likely to become a public charge. 

If you are sponsoring a foreign national who will be visiting on a temporary basis and it is determined that the individual will become a public charge and is therefore inadmissible, you can complete and file Form I-134, Affidavit of Support. This form is used to inform the U.S. government that you are willing and able to provide financial support during the immigrant’s visit to the country. 

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into Form I-134, explaining exactly what its purpose is, as well as how to go about filling it out and filing it. 

What is Form I-134, Affidavit of Support

As mentioned, non-citizens will not be permitted to enter the country on a temporary basis, nor will they be able to adjust the status of their visa to permanent resident if it is deemed that they will become public charges. Because public charges rely on financial assistance from the government and the United States (like most countries) would rather provide assistance to citizens of the country, it’s understandable why aliens would be inadmissible if there is a chance that they will rely on government support. 

Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, is used by temporary visa sponsors of non-citizens to demonstrate and confirm to the government that they are willing to provide financial assistance, should the foreign national require it during their visit. Generally, Form I-134 is filed to establish financial support for immigrants who are seeking to obtain a visitor visa and a fiancé visa, among others. 

Non-citizens who are immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, family-based preference immigrants, and some employment-based preference aliens will need to have Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, completed by a petitioner to acquire a visa or to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident (to become a green card holder). 

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Who Can Complete Form I-134? 

The individual who completes Form I-134 must be a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder). The intending immigrant can furnish the completed and signed Form I-134 at his or her visa interview or can show it to a Customers and Boarder Protection (CBP) officer upon entering the country. 

Are There Risks Involved with Becoming a I-134 Sponsor? 

The U.S. citizen or green card holder who completes and signs Form I-134 is guaranteeing that the non-citizen that he or she is sponsoring will not become a public charge. In other words, you are willing to and able to provide financial assistance for the visa applicant should he or she require it while staying in the United States. 

Should the foreign national become a public charge by filing and receiving public assistance from the government, the agency that provided the assistance can consider the income, assets – or both - of the citizen or green card holder who completed and signed Form I-134 when determining if the non-citizen should be granted any benefits; furthermore, to recover any costs that are associated with providing public assistance for the immigrant, the government can take legal action against the person who completed and signed the Affidavit of Support. 

With that said, however, because Form I-134 is used to provide financial assurance for temporary visa holders, many attorneys state that it is unenforceable; that is, the individual who completed and signed the Affidavit of Support will likely not be held accountable. Form I-134 is often referred to as unenforceable because: 

  • Temporary visa holders do not meet the eligibility requirements for many of the public assistance benefits that the U.S. government offers; therefore, if these temporary visitors apply for public assistance, it is likely that they will be denied. 

  • The citizen or green card holder who sponsored Form I-134 agreed to provide financial support for a predetermined amount of time, and as such, the risks of being held accountable are very limited. 

  • Many of the government agencies that issue public assistance do not have the time, nor do they have the resources, to take legal action against an I-134 sponsor, even if the temporary visa holder does end up acquiring assistance from the government. 

Essentially, from a legal standpoint, there is minimal risk for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who sponsor Form I-134. 

How to Prepare Form I-134, Affidavit of Support

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers Form I-134 at no charge. The form can be obtained by visiting the USCIS website and navigating to the I-134 page.  From there, you can download the form (using the latest version of Adobe Reader is recommended) and print the form. If you are unable to access the Internet, you can contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center by calling 1-800-375-5283 and request to have a copy of Form I-134 mailed to you. 

Detailed instructions for completing the Affidavit of Support are also provided on the I-134 page of the USCIS website; however, below, we provide an overview of how to complete the form below. 

Basic Instructions for Form I-134

  • Form I-134 must be signed by the sponsoring U.S. citizen or green card holder. The signature must be handwritten in black ink; stamped and typewritten signatures will not be accepted. 

  • Only photocopies of the necessary supporting documents should be provided, and these photocopies should be legible. Original documents should only be provided if they are requested. Should you send in original documents and they are not requested, USCIS may destroy them; however, if original documents are required, USCIS will return them to the mailing address provided. 

  • Should any information on the affidavit be written in a language other than English, a full and accurate English translation must accompany the document. The individual who translated the information must sign and date a certification that indicates he or she is competent in both English and the foreign language, and that the translation is complete and accurate. Additionally, the translator must provide his or her contact information (daytime phone number and address). 

  • All information must be typed or legibly printed in black ink only. 

  • All questions must be answered completely and accurately. If a question is not applicable, an answer of “not applicable” or “N/A” should be provided; for questions that require a numerical response and are not applicable, an answer of “none” should be entered as opposed to “zero”. 

  • If additional space is required, you can use the Additional Information (part 7) section of Form I-134. Alternatively, a separate piece of paper can be used to provide more information, as long as a name, Alien Registration Number (A-Number) (if applicable), and the page, part, and item number are printed on the top; additionally, any additional sheets of paper that are used to provide more information must be signed and dated. 

Specific Instructions for Form I-134

Below, we provide an overview of each specific part that must be completed on Form I-134, Affidavit of Support. 

Part 1. Information About You (the Sponsor)

Here, the sponsor will provide his or her last name, first name, middle name (if applicable), and any other names that the sponsor has used in the past; physical address; date of birth, and citizenship or residency status. Additionally, if the sponsor has a Social Security Number, A-Number, and/or USCIS online account number, he or she must provide it in this part of the affidavit. 

Part 2. Information About the Beneficiary (the Temporary Visitor)

In this section, information about the temporary visa holder should be provided. This includes his or her last name, first name, and middle name; date of birth; gender; A-Number (if applicable); country of origin; marital status; the noncitizen visitor’s relationship to the sponsor, and physical address. Additionally, if the spouse or children of the beneficiary will be accompanying or joining him or her, their name(s), date(s) of birth, and gender(s) must be provided in Part 2. 

Part 3. Other Information About the Sponsor

Here, the sponsor of the affidavit will provide information about or her employment status, including whether or not he or she is employed, and if so, where and what position he or she holds. The sponsor will also provide information pertaining to his or her income and assets, including annual income, balances of all bank accounts, value of personal property, market value of any stocks and bonds, and value and cash surrender value of life insurance. Furthermore, the sponsor will provide information about any real estate that he or she owns, including the value, the debts, and the address(es). Lastly, the sponsor must provide information about any dependents, including a spouse and children. 

Part 4. Sponsor’s Statement, Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

In this part of the Affidavit of Support, the sponsor must select if he or she completed the form him- or herself, or if an interpreter and/or preparer assisted. The contact information of the sponsor must also be provided, including daytime phone number, mobile phone number (if applicable), and email address (if applicable). Lastly, the sponsor must sign and date the form. 

Parts 5 and 6: Interpreter and Prepare Contact Information, Certifications, and Signatures

If an interpreter was used to complete the form, he or she will provide his or her contact information, certifications, and signature in Part 5 of this form. If a prepare assisted with completing Form I-134, he or she must provide his or her contact information, certifications, and signature in Part 6 of the affidavit. 

What Additional Documentation is Required with Form I-134? 

The sponsor of Form I-134 must provide USCIS with evidence that he or she earns an income or has access to financial resources that can sufficiently support the temporary foreign visitor to the United States so that the visitor will not become a public charge. 

Evidence of income or financial resources includes: 

  • Statements from financial institutions that contain information about accounts that are held, such as checking and savings accounts. The statement should include the dates the accounts were opened, the amount that was deposited in the account over the course of the past year, and the present balance of the accounts. 

  • Employer statements on official stationary that indicates the date the sponsor was hired, the type of employment the sponsor holds, the salary of the sponsor, and whether the sponsor is employed on a part-time, full-time, temporary, or permanent basis. 

  • For sponsors who are self-employed, they should provide a copy of the income tax return that they most recently filed or a report of commercial rating concern. 

  • Lists of the serial numbers and the amounts of any bonds that the sponsor holds.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Is there a filing fee?

No, there is no filing free for Form I-134, Affidavit of Support. 

Q: Where should the affidavit be filed? 

A: To find out where to file the completed, can visit the Form I-134 page of the USCIS website, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Q: What is the processing time? 

A: Processing time varies. Once the affidavit is accepted, USCIS will assess it to ensure that it is complete. If the affidavit is not completed, it may be denied or rejected. If it is complete but USCIS requires additional information or required an interview, you will receive a written notification with the necessary information that is required or when and where an interview will be held to collect biometrics (fingerprints, signature, and/or photograph). Once the form has been completed assessed, USCIS will send a written decision to the mailing address provided. 

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