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U.S. Visas

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Step 4: Collect Financial Documents

After you submit your visa application, you may need to collect documents showing your petitioner has the ability to financially support you in the United States. You will submit these documents to NVC in Step 6.

Petitioners are required to submit an Affidavit of Support form and evidence of their income. The Affidavit of Support form, also called the I-864, is legally required for most family-based and some employment-based immigrants. It is a legal contract between the petitioner (sponsor) of an immigrant visa applicant and the U.S. government. Generally, the following intending immigrants need an Affidavit of Support:

  • Applicants for family-based immigrant visas, including certain orphans.
  • Applicants for employment-based immigrant visas where a relative filed the immigrant visa petition or has a five percent or greater ownership interest in the business that filed the petition.

There is a detailed explanation of who needs an Affidavit of Support and who is exempt below. You can also review the instructions for each form (I-864EZ, I-864, I-864A, and I-864W) on USCIS’s websitePlease be advised that Customer Service Representatives at NVC cannot advise you which Affidavit of Support form you should fill out. Please use the information below and the instructions on the forms to determine which form best meets your needs.  

To gather the required 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

There are several Affidavit of Support forms. Each form applies to different people – and in some cases, the immigrant visa applicant will complete a form. The table below will help your petitioner determine which Affidavit of Support form to complete.

For more information about Affidavit of Support requirements and forms, review Affidavit of Support on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on this website. Use the information in these FAQs and on this website with, not instead of, the detailed instructions for the Affidavit of Support forms on USCIS’s website.

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.

See tips for completing I-864
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
See tips for completing 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
See tips for completing I-864W
You are a self-petitioning widow(er). Complete Form I-864W
See tips for completing I-864W
You are a self-petitioning battered spouse or child. Complete Form I-864W
See tips for completing 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
See tips for completing 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
See tips for completing I-864EZ
If none of the above apply and you meet the minimum income requirement. Complete Form I-864
See tips for completing 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

See tips for completing I-864 and tips for completing 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

See tips for completing I-864
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Obtain financial evidence

After your financial sponsor(s) complete the Affidavit of Support form, they should gather supporting evidence of their income. This will be submitted to 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. Remember that each financial sponsor – your petitioner, any joint sponsors, and any household members – must submit an Affidavit of Support, proof of income, and proof of their legal status and domicile in the United States.

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;
  • U.S. Naturalization Certificate;
  • U.S. passport/passport card;
  • Form I-551 “green card;” or
  • Foreign passport containing Form I-94 with I-551 stamp (if you entered the United States by land) or an electronic Form I-94 record (if you entered the United States by air or sea).  You can request an electronic Form I-94 record from USCIS online.  
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