Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support

Form I-134 Declaration of Financial Support

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What is Form I-134?

The Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, is a document used to provide financial support to a beneficiary of certain immigration benefits for the duration of their temporary stay in the United States.

The purpose of the I-134 form is to demonstrate to the U.S. government that the intending immigrant will not become a public charge and will have adequate financial support while in the country during their temporary stay.

The sponsor who fills out the form is essentially making a legally binding commitment to provide financial support to the immigrant if necessary, ensuring that the immigrant will not rely on public benefits.

The I-134 form is commonly used for various types of nonimmigrant visas, such as:

  • Tourist visas (B-2)
  • Fiancé(e) visas (K-1)
  • Student visas (F-1), among others. 

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for the I-134 form and the supporting documentation can vary depending on the type of visa and the U.S. consulate or embassy where the visa application is being processed. 

Who needs to file form I-134?

The Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, is typically filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) who is willing to financially sponsor an immigrant applying for a nonimmigrant visa. 

Here are some common scenarios where the I-134 form might be required:

  • Tourist Visas (B-2): If someone is applying for a tourist visa to visit the United States, they might be asked to provide an I-134 form to show that they have a sponsor who will cover their expenses during their stay.
  • Fiancé(e) Visas (K-1): U.S. citizens who are bringing their foreign fiancé(e)s to the U.S. to get married and apply for permanent residency (green card) might need to submit an I-134 form to demonstrate financial support.
  • Student Visas (F-1): Individuals applying for student visas might need to provide evidence of financial support through an I-134 form to show they can cover their educational and living expenses in the U.S.
  • Exchange Visitor Visas (J-1): Some J-1 visa applicants, particularly those who are subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, might be required to have a sponsor submit an I-134 form to ensure they won’t become a public charge.
  • Dependent Visas: If someone is applying for a dependent visa, such as the spouse or child of an immigrant visa holder, the sponsor might be asked to submit an I-134 form to prove financial support.
  • Other Nonimmigrant Visas: Various other nonimmigrant visa categories might require the submission of an I-134 form to demonstrate financial support.

Form I-134 Requirements

The Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, has specific requirements that need to be met in order to successfully sponsor an immigrant applying for a nonimmigrant visa. 

While the requirements can vary depending on the specific visa category and the U.S. consulate or embassy where the application is being processed, here are the general requirements for filing Form I-134:

Eligibility: The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) who is at least 18 years old and domiciled (living) in the United States.

Financial Ability: The sponsor must have sufficient income or assets to demonstrate their ability to financially support the intending immigrant. If the sponsor’s income is being used to meet the requirement, it should generally be at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for their household size. If the sponsor’s income alone does not meet this requirement, they can include the income of household members and/or use assets to supplement the income.

Documentation: The sponsor needs to provide documentation to support their income and financial resources. This might include:

  • Recent tax returns
  • W-2 forms
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Any other relevant financial records. 
  • If using assets, documentation proving ownership and value of those assets is also required.

Relationship: The sponsor needs to establish their relationship with the intending immigrant. This could include explaining how they know the immigrant, the purpose of the visit, and the sponsor’s willingness to provide financial support during the immigrant’s stay.

Intent to Support: By signing the I-134 form, the sponsor is making a legally binding commitment to financially support the immigrant and ensure they do not become a public charge in the United States.

Consular Processing: The I-134 form is typically submitted to the U.S. consulate or embassy where the immigrant’s visa application is being processed. It is not submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

How to file Form I-134

To file Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, follow these general steps:

Step 1. Download the Form: Visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (uscis.gov) and search for Form I-134. Download the most recent version of the form and the instructions.

Step 2. Read the Instructions: Carefully read the instructions provided with the form. The instructions will guide you through the process of completing the form correctly.

Step 3. Gather Required Information and Documentation: Collect all the necessary information and documentation required to complete the form. This may include your personal information, financial details, and supporting documents like tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and evidence of assets.

Step 4. Complete the Form: Fill out the form accurately and completely. Follow the instructions to provide the required information. Make sure to review the form thoroughly before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5. Calculate Household Income: If you’re using your income to meet the financial requirement, calculate your household income as per the guidelines provided in the instructions. Generally, your household income should be at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for your household size.

Step 6. Attach Supporting Documents: Attach all the required supporting documents to the form. These documents are crucial to verify your financial ability to sponsor the intending immigrant.

Step 7. Sign the Form: Sign and date the completed form. By signing, you are making a legal commitment to financially support the immigrant if necessary.

Step 8. Provide copy of the Form to the visa applicant: The I-134 form and supporting documents are typically submitted to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the intending immigrant’s visa application is being processed. Check the specific instructions provided by the embassy or consulate for the correct submission procedure.

Step 9. Keep a Copy: Make copies of the completed form and all the attached documents for your records.

Step 10. Await Response: After submitting the form, you will generally need to wait for the U.S. embassy or consulate to process the visa application. They will review the I-134 form and supporting documents to assess your financial ability to sponsor the immigrant.

Form I-134 checklist of documents

When filing Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, you’ll need to include various supporting documents to demonstrate your financial ability to sponsor the intending immigrant. 

While the specific documents required can vary based on your financial situation and the U.S. embassy or consulate’s requirements, here’s a general checklist of documents you might need to include:

  • Completed Form I-134: Make sure you are using the most current version of the form, have accurately filled out and signed the Form I-134.
  • Proof of Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency: Provide a copy of your U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or green card (front and back) as evidence of your citizenship or residency status.
  • Tax Returns: Include copies of your most recent federal tax returns (Form 1040) along with all schedules and attachments. If you filed jointly with a spouse, include their tax forms W-2 and/or 1099 as well.
  • W-2 Forms: Attach copies of your W-2 forms for the most recent tax year. These forms provide details about your income and taxes withheld.
  • Pay Stubs: Include pay stubs for the last 12 months from your current employer to demonstrate your current income.
  • Employment Verification Letter: If your income is not reflected accurately in your recent tax returns, include an employment verification letter from your employer. The letter should state your job title, salary, and the length of your employment. See the employment verification letter template below.
  • Bank Statements: Provide copies of recent bank statements that show your financial assets and stability.
  • Proof of Other Income: If you have additional sources of income, such as rental income or investments, provide documentation to support these claims.
  • Asset Documentation: If you’re using assets to supplement your income, provide documents proving ownership and value of those assets. This might include property deeds, stock certificates, or other relevant documents.
  • Proof of Relationship: Include documentation that establishes your relationship with the intending immigrant. This could be photographs, communication records, or any other relevant evidence.
  • Supporting Letters: You may provide letters from employers, financial institutions, or other relevant parties that can verify your financial stability.
  • Affidavit of Explanation: If there are any discrepancies or issues with your financial information, you may include an affidavit explaining these issues and providing context.

What’s the difference between Form I-134 and Form I-864?

Form I-134 and Form I-864 are both forms used in the U.S. immigration process to promise financial support to the intending immigrant or nonimmigrant visitor, but they serve different purposes and are used in different contexts. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between the two forms:

Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support

  • Purpose: Form I-134 is used for nonimmigrant visa applications, which are temporary stays in the United States. It is commonly used for tourist visas, fiancé(e) visas, student visas, and other nonimmigrant categories.
  • Sponsor Types: Form I-134 can be filed by any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is willing to financially sponsor the intending immigrant during their temporary stay in the U.S.
  • Financial Requirement: The financial requirements for Form I-134 are generally less stringent than those for Form I-864. Sponsors need to demonstrate that they have sufficient income or assets to ensure the immigrant will not become a public charge during their stay. The requirement is typically to have income at or above 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines.
  • Duration: The sponsor’s financial responsibility under Form I-134 is limited to the intended period of stay specified in the nonimmigrant visa application.
  • Submission: Form I-134 is typically submitted to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the visa application is being processed.

Form I-864, Affidavit of Support:

  • Purpose: Form I-864 is used for immigrant visa applications, which involve intending immigrants seeking to become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States.
  • Sponsor Types: Form I-864 is generally required when sponsoring immediate relatives (spouse, parents, children) for family-sponsored immigration. The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder and must be the petitioner for the intending immigrant.
  • Financial Requirement: The financial requirements for Form I-864 are more stringent. Sponsors need to demonstrate that they have income or assets that meet at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines and that they can maintain this level of income or assets until the sponsored immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, earns 40 qualifying quarters of work, or is no longer a permanent resident.
  • Duration: The sponsor’s financial responsibility under Form I-864 is ongoing and can extend beyond the immigrant’s initial entry into the U.S. Sponsors are financially responsible for the sponsored immigrant until certain conditions are met.
  • Submission: Form I-864 is submitted as part of the immigrant visa application package and is generally filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when the intending immigrant adjusts their status to a lawful permanent resident after entering the U.S. or the National Visa Center (NVC) if the beneficiary resides abroad.

In summary, Form I-134 is used for temporary nonimmigrant visa applications and involves a less strict financial commitment, while Form I-864 is used for immigrant visa applications and entails a more extensive and long-term financial commitment. 

What happens after Form I-134 is approved?

Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, is not typically subject to formal approval or denial like other immigration forms. 

Instead, it is submitted as part of the visa application process to demonstrate that the intending immigrant will have financial support during their stay in the United States. The primary purpose of Form I-134 is to provide evidence to the U.S. embassy or consulate that the applicant has a sponsor who is willing and able to financially support them.

After you submit Form I-134 as part of the visa application process, here’s what generally happens next:

  • Consular Processing: The U.S. embassy or consulate processing the visa application will review the entire application package, which includes Form I-134 and supporting documents. They will assess the sponsor’s financial ability to provide support for the intending immigrant.
  • Consideration: The consular officer will review the sponsor’s financial documents, employment information, and other supporting evidence to determine if the sponsor meets the financial requirements. They will also consider the overall credibility of the information provided.
  • Decision: The decision regarding the visa application is not solely based on the approval or denial of Form I-134. It’s just one factor among many that the consular officer considers. The officer evaluates the entire application, including the applicant’s ties to their home country, purpose of travel, and other eligibility factors.
  • Interview (if required): Depending on the visa category and the embassy’s policies, the intending immigrant might be required to attend an interview with a consular officer. The officer might ask questions about the sponsor’s financial support and the reasons for the trip.
  • Visa Issuance: If the visa application is approved, the U.S. embassy or consulate will issue the visa to the intending immigrant, allowing them to enter the United States for the specified purpose and duration of stay.
  • Entry to the U.S.: Upon arrival in the United States, the intending immigrant will undergo inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the port of entry. The CBP officers will make the final determination on whether the individual is allowed to enter the country.

It’s important to note that the successful submission of Form I-134 does not guarantee the approval of the visa application. The consular officer considers multiple factors when evaluating the application. If the application is denied, the officer will provide reasons for the denial, and the intending immigrant might have the opportunity to address the issues and reapply in the future.

Always refer to the official instructions provided with Form I-134 and the specific guidance from the U.S. embassy or consulate where the visa application is being processed. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the process, it’s advisable to consult with legal professionals who specialize in immigration matters.

Employment Verification Letter Template

Below you will find an employment verification letter template that you can use for submission with Form I-134. The letter should state your job title, salary, and the length of your employment. The letter must be printed on a business letterhead.

 

ABC, Inc.

[Company’s name]

 

P.O Box 0001

San Francisco, CA 94016

Phone number:

Email address:

 

[Date]

 

To: USCIS

 

Dear Sirs/Madams,

 

This letter is to verify that [Your full name] has been employed at ______ (company’s name) for the past ____ years. He began work in October 2020.

 

Currently, [Your full name]  holds the position of Software Engineer and works on a full-time basis while earning $____________ annually. 

 

If you require any additional information, please feel free to contact me at ____________ (phone number).

 

Sincerely,

 

(Handwritten Signature)

 

Michael Brown

[Position]

 

Related Links:

Affidavit of Support, Form I-864

Affidavit of Support Checklist – Form I-864

How to Fill Out Affidavit of Support – Form I-864