Form I-864 Support Affidavits
The Immigration and Nationality Act forbids admission to the United States of any individual who is likely – at the time of application or thereafter – to become a public charge. In other words, individuals seeking to move to the United States are deemed “inadmissible” if they cannot prove that they will be able to support themselves once they arrive. These inadmissible persons may become admissible if they can find a sponsor to execute an affidavit of support on their behalf. This type of affidavit – called a Form I-864 – is essentially a promise by the person signing that they will provide financial support for the individual seeking admission to the United States.
Under federal law, a Form I-864 affidavit remains enforceable indefinitely unless a specific terminating event (generally involving the sponsored individual becoming sufficiently financially independent) occurs. Nothing other than those terminating events – not even divorce or remarriage to another person – terminates sponsorship obligations under Form I-864.
The primary purpose of the Form I-864 is to ensure that individuals moving to the United States do not become a public charge. They are strictly enforced and interpreted. If you have been asked to sign a Form I-864, you should first seek legal counsel to ensure that you fully understand the risks and obligations of doing so. Likewise, if you are an immigrant and your Form I-864 sponsor is no longer providing you with support, you should seek legal counsel at once. Unless one of the specific terminating events has occurred, you may very well be owed back support, and continuing support, from your sponsor.