Where and when to submit the affidavit of support depends upon whether the person will be getting an immigrant visa or filing for an adjustment of status:
- Immigrant Visa / Consular Processing:
When the National Visa Center (NVC) mails you a Form I-864, complete it and mail it back to the NVC along with supporting documents. Follow the instructions provided by the NVC, because in some cases, they may be different. The instructions on when and where to submit the Form I-864 are included in the information packet mailed to you with the Form I-864.
Once the NVC receives your affidavit of support form(s) and supporting documents, they will review them for technical completeness and correctness. If any of the form(s) are technically not correct or complete, the NVC will ask the petitioning sponsor to correct and complete the applicable form(s) a second time. It will also explain what is lacking in the previously submitted form(s). Once the NVC receives your correct and complete affidavit of support form(s), they will be sent to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate, along with the immigrant visa petition.
When you send the affidavit of support form to the NVC, make sure to send a copy to your alien relative to carry it to the interview.
If you are not asked to submit the affidavit of support at the NVC, provide it to the intending immigrant to present to the consular officer at the time of the interview. This is particularly true in cases where the petition was filed abroad at a U.S. embassy or consulate. In this case, the NVC will not review it, because they review affidavit of support forms only for the cases filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the U.S.
If the consular office asks the applicant to get a joint sponsor, the joint sponsor should send a completed I-864 form directly to the applicant and not to the NVC. The applicant should submit that I-864 to the consular officer for review.
- Adjustment of Status:
Submit an affidavit of support and the supporting documents along with the adjustment of status application. For privacy reasons, the sponsor may enclose these documents in a sealed envelope marked “Form I-864: To Be Opened Only by a U.S. Government Official”.
An affidavit of support cannot be submitted electronically.
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I-864 for Multiple Intending Immigrants
Here the affidavit of support will mean a Form I-864 (one or more, if there are joint sponsors) and a Form I-864A (if including resources on household member(s) .
For each Form I-130 (or I-140, in some cases) petition filed, a separate, original affidavit of support is required. E.g., if you filed two Form I-130 petitions for each of your parents, two original affidavits of support and copies of supporting documents would be required, one set for each parent.
However, if there are any additional family members immigrating along with the primary applicant, you would submit a photocopy (or original, if you wish) affidavit of support for each derivative immigrant, as long as these dependents are immigrating at the same time as the principal immigrant or within six months of the time he/she immigrates to the U.S. A separate set of supporting documents are not required for derivative immigrants. Copies may be used only for those dependents whose names appear on the principal immigrants’s original forms.
E.g., if you are sponsoring your brother who is married and has two children, an original affidavit of support would be required for your brother along with the supporting documents. However, for the dependents, his wife and two children, you would send a copy of the affidavit of support (one for each person). Additional copies of supporting documents are not required.
Family members who travel later (follow-to-join) require one complete set of the documents prepared in support of the principal applicant’s I-864.
Expiration of I-864
In general, a Form I-864 must be submitted within one year of the sponsor’s signature. If it is submitted later than after one year, a new I-864 would be required.
After the Form I-864 has been submitted and accepted, it does not expire. However, if the supporting documents are more than 12 months old, the consular officer will ask for new supporting documents, such as the most recent federal income tax returns (1040) and a current employment letter.
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