On October 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made an announcement that it will amend its regulation governing Form I-864, Affidavit of Support requirements under section 213A of the INA. The DHS will collect more financial information from sponsors as a result of this new proposal. The rule applies to U.S. Citizen and Green Card holders who are sponsoring a relative. According to DHS, this proposed rule would increase the integrity of the nation’s immigration system. However, this rule may make it harder for some U.S. Citizen and Green Card holders to meet the income requirements and sponsor family members for green cards.
What is I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA?
Certain immigrants such as family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support executed by a sponsor who agrees to financially support the sponsored immigrant and accepts liability for the costs of any means-tested public benefits a sponsored immigrant receives. The purpose of the Affidavit of Support is to show that the sponsor has adequate means of financial support and the sponsored immigrant(s) are not likely to become a public charge.
What Are Some of the Proposed Changes?
1. U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents will be required to provide credits reports and credit scores.
2. U.S. Citizens and Green Card holders will be required to submit certified copies of income tax returns for the last three years.
3. U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents will be required to submit bank account information.
4. Any petitioning sponsor found to have received means-tested public benefit within the last 36 months of submitting a Form I-864, or to have defaulted on previous obligations to support an immigrant, must be backed by a joint sponsor who has received no such public benefits during that time.
5. DHS wants to limit the type and number of household members who can file a Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member.
Remember that this is only a proposed rule by the DHS and has not taken into effect yet. The DHS has provided thirty (30) days comments period and additional days for DHS to consider the public’s comments. Eventually, the DHS will publish the final rule.
1. Make sure to screen your sponsor(s) very well and ensure that they meet the income requirements and have the right background. Ensure that sponsor(s) have not used public benefits in the past.
2. Make sure to prepare your file or petition as soon as you can before this rule takes into effect.
3. It is important to have a back-up sponsor in case your current sponsor does not meet the requirements.