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The Immigrant Visa Process

Step 4: Collect Financial Documents

After you submit your visa application, you need to collect financial documents. These will be submitted to the NVC in Step 6. To collect financial documents, your petitioner (the person who filed the petition on your behalf) must do the following:

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Complete an Affidavit of Support form

The Affidavit of Support form is a legal contract required by U.S. law between the Petitioner (sponsor) of an immigrant visa applicant(s) and the U.S. government. The sponsor for the visa applicant(s) must establish he or she has certain means to financially support the visa applicant(s), if necessary. This will be submitted to the NVC in Step 6.

For full information about Affidavit of Support requirements, forms, and whether an Affidavit of Support is required for you, review Affidavit of Support on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. For full information about the NVC’s role in the Affidavit of Support process, and for answers to frequently asked questions, review our FAQs. Use the information in the FAQs and other information on this website with, not instead of, the detailed instructions for the Affidavit of Support form(s)on the USCIS website.

There are several Affidavit of Support forms. Each form applies to different people. The table below has been provided to assist your Petitioner in determining which Affidavit of Support form(s) to complete:

If... 

 

Then…
You filed an employment petition (Form I-140 or I-526) and you own five percent or more of the business entity that filed the petition. Complete Form I-864, and bring it to the interview. You do not need to submit it to the NVC.
You filed an employment petition (Form I-140 or I-526) and you own less than five percent of the business entity that filed the petition. You do not need to complete an Affidavit of Support form.

Continue to the next step.
The applicant you are sponsoring has earned or can be credited with at least 40 eligible quarters under the Social Security Act. Complete Form I-864W
You are a U.S. citizen and you are sponsoring a natural or adopted child, other than a stepchild, who is under 18 years old. Complete Form I-864W
You are a self-petitioning widow(er). Complete Form I-864W
You are a self-petitioning battered spouse or child. Complete Form I-864W
You are sponsoring a child who will become a U.S. citizen immediately upon entry under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA). Complete Form I-864W
All three of the following are true:
  1. You filed a Form I-130 petition for your relative;
  2. There is only one applicant on the Form I-130 petition; and
  3. The income you are using to qualify is based entirely on your salary or pension and is shown on one or more Forms W-2 provided by your employer(s) or former employer(s).
Complete Form I-864EZ
If none of the above apply and you meet the minimum income requirement. Complete Form I-864
If none of the above apply and you are using the income of other household members to meet the minimum income requirement. The sponsor must complete Form I-864 and each household member must complete Form I-864A
If none of the above apply and:
  1. You do not meet the minimum income requirement and are using a joint sponsor, and
  2. You are not using the income of other household members to qualify.
The sponsor and the joint sponsor must each complete Form I-864
Obtain financial evidence

After the petitioner, joint sponsor, and/or household member complete the Affidavit of Support form, he or she should submit supporting financial evidence. This will be submitted to the NVC in Step 6. Additional supporting evidence may be requested by the consular officer at the visa interview.  Review the table below to determine what supporting financial evidence to collect with the Affidavit of Support.

Financial Evidence Description
IRS Tax Transcript If you completed Form I-864, I-864A, or I-864EZ submit an IRS tax transcript from the most recent tax year.

Extensions: If you filed an extension for the most recent tax year, submit a photocopy of your IRS Form 4868 (PDF - 509 KB) or write and sign a statement indicating you filed an extension.

If you did not file taxes
: If you did not file Federal Income Tax Returns for the most recent tax year, write and sign a statement indicating why you did not file taxes.

If you cannot obtain an IRS tax transcript
: If you are unable to obtain an IRS tax transcript, submit a photocopy of your IRS Federal Income Tax Returns and Form(s) W-2 or schedule(s) from the most recent tax year.

Evidence of income If you completed Form I-864, I-864A, or I-864EZ and the income reported on this form or your tax return reflects income below the poverty guidelines for the year the form was submitted, submit evidence of your income. This can include the following documents:
  • For those who are employed by an individual or company, submit a photocopy of an employment letter, pay stub, or pay advance (direct-deposit receipt) that meets the criteria below:
    • Includes your name and the company’s name;
    • Is on signed, business letterhead (you cannot sign the letter yourself); and
    • Is issued within the last three months.
  • For those who are self-employed, obtain a photocopy of one of the following:
    • Your business license.
    • A signed letter on business letterhead that was written within in the last three months.
    • A contract between you as an independent contractor and a company.
  • For those who are unemployed or retired, submit a photocopy of ongoing income from other means, such as:
    • retirement benefits;
    • other household members' income; or
    • other significant assets.
  • If you are currently self-employed in any of the following ways, you do not need to obtain submit evidence of income:
    • Babysitter, elderly caretaker, construction worker, handyperson, housekeeper, landlord, musician, nanny, seamstress, tailor, artist, or writer.
Proof of relationship If you completed Form I-864A, submit evidence that proves your relationship to the sponsor (the person who filed Form I-864). You can prove your relationship by submitting a photocopy of one of the documents below:
  • Birth certificate;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Adoption certificate;
  • The petitioner or joint sponsor’s most recent Federal Income Tax Returns, if you are listed as a dependent; or
  • A signed, written statement describing the relationship.
Proof of domicile If you completed Form I-864, I-864A, or I-864EZ and your mailing address and/or place of residence is not in the United States, but your country of domicile is the United States, write an explanation and provide documentary evidence indicating how you meet the domicile requirement. Review our FAQs to learn more about domicile.
Proof of U.S. status If you completed Form I-864 as a joint sponsor, submit proof that you are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or Lawful Permanent Resident. You can do this by submitting a photocopy of one of the following documents:
  • Birth certificate showing birth in the United States;
  • Naturalization Certificate;
  • U.S. passport/passport card;
  • Form I-551 “green card;” or
  • Foreign passport containing Form I-94 with I-551 stamp. 
Social Security Administration (SSA) Earnings Statement If the principal applicant completed Form I-864W because he or she can be credited with 40 eligible quarters under the Social Security Act, submit his or her SSA Earnings Statement showing the coverage.

You can obtain an SSA Earnings Statement online at http://ssa.gov/myaccount. You can also call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 for more information. 
Proof of Assets If you submitted Form I-864 or I-864A and you used assets to meet the minimum income requirements, submit a photocopy of proof you own your assets. Proof can take any form as long as it:
  • lists your name as the owner; and
  • Includes the value of the asset expressed in currency.

Need help?

Review our Affidavit of Support FAQs or Contact Us

Who's Involved

U.S. Embassies and Consulates: Find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, nearest your residence abroad, where you will apply and be interviewed for your U.S. visa.

National Visa Center: After petition approval, the National Visa Center (NVC) handles processing for certain kinds of documents, sending them onward to U.S. Embassies & Consulates. When and how to Contact NVC

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): USCIS oversees immigration to the United States and approves (or denies) immigrant petitions, and more. Learn about USCIS.

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