Proof of U.S. Domicile for Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)

Proof of U.S. Domicile for Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)

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Last updated: April 1, 2024.

What is the country of domicile for Form I-864?

  • Form I-864, officially known as the Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, is a U.S. immigration form used to demonstrate that a sponsor has the financial ability to support a family member who is applying for permanent residence in the U.S.
  • The country of domicile for Form I-864 should be the United States
  • The sponsor, who is typically a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, is required to be domiciled in the United States when submitting this form
  • Domicile refers to the sponsor’s principal place of residence and the intent to maintain that residence in the U.S.

How to prove U.S. domicile if sponsor resides outside the U.S.

If the sponsor (also known as “Petitioner”) is currently residing outside the U.S., he or she still can sign Form I-864 if the following can be shown:

  • The sponsor is employed by certain organizations (see the list below);
  • The sponsor is living abroad temporarily and has maintained his or her domicile in the U.S. (certain documents must be provided, see the checklist below); or
  • The sponsor intends in good faith to establish his or her domicile in the U.S. no later than the date of the intending immigrant’s entry into the U.S. on an immigrant visa

A sponsor is considered to be domiciled in the U.S., if the sponsor is employed by any of the following organizations:

  • Employment temporarily stationed abroad with the U.S. government
  • Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a U.S. institution of research recognized by the Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a U.S. firm or corporation or its subsidiary engaged in whole or in part in the development of foreign trade and commerce with the United States
  • Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a public international organization in which the United States participates by treaty or statute
  • Employment temporarily stationed abroad with a religious denomination/group having a genuine organization within the United States
  • Employment temporarily stationed abroad as a missionary by a religious denomination/group or by an interdenominational mission organization within the United States

The following documents can be used to show that the sponsor is maintaining his/her domicile in the U.S.:

  • U.S. real estate property ownership
  • Maintaining U.S. bank account statements
  • Maintaining U.S. investment accounts
  • A voting record in the U.S.
  • Records of paying U.S. state or local taxes
  • Having a permanent mailing address in the U.S.
  • Other proof such as evidence that the sponsor is a student studying abroad 

The following documents can be used to show that the sponsor plans to establish a domicile in the U.S.:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Transferring funds to the U.S.
  • Making investments in the U.S.
  • Seeking employment in the U.S. (job applications, job offers, etc.)
  • Securing a residence in the U.S. (letter from landlord)
  • Registering children in U.S. schools
  • Applying for a Social Security number
  • Voting in local, State, or Federal elections

What does it mean to be domiciled in the US?

Being domiciled in the U.S., particularly for Form I-864 purposes, refers to establishing and maintaining a permanent legal residence in the U.S. 

This is crucial when sponsoring an immigrant and signing an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), which is used to demonstrate that the intending immigrant will have adequate financial support to avoid becoming a public charge.

For Form I-864, the sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is at least 18 years old and domiciled in the U.S.

Domicile goes beyond mere physical presence; it involves a genuine intent to maintain a permanent residence in the U.S.

Factors that demonstrate U.S. domicile may include:

  • Permanent Residence: Owning or renting a home in the U.S.
  • Employment: Having a job in the U.S.
  • Financial Ties: Maintaining bank accounts, investments, or other financial interests in the U.S.
  • Family Ties: Having close family members in the U.S.
  • Tax Filing: Filing U.S. income tax returns as a resident

It’s important to note that demonstrating domicile is a legal requirement to be a sponsor on Form I-864, and sponsors need to be able to provide evidence of their intention to maintain a permanent residence in the U.S.

If the sponsor is living abroad temporarily or doesn’t have a genuine intent to establish U.S. domicile, they may not meet the requirements for sponsorship on Form I-864.

Proof of domicile checklist for Form I-864

The following documents can be used as proof of U.S. domicile:

Examples of acceptable evidence

Description

Residence in the U.S.
  • Lease agreement
  • Mortgage payments
  • Utility bills
Property ownership
  • Deeds
  • Titles
Employment
  • Pay stubs
  • Employment contract
Assets
  • Bank statements
  • Investment account statements
Medical records
  • Medical records
Voting records
  • Federal and state voting registration
Taxes
  • Claiming U.S. earned income on federal tax returns 
School records
  • Enrollment confirmation letters
  • Transcripts

How do I establish a domicile in the US?

Establishing a domicile in the U.S. involves establishing a permanent legal residence in a specific state. 

Here are general steps to establish domicile in the U.S.:

  • Obtain a Permanent Physical Address:
      • Secure a permanent address in the state, such as a rental property or owned residence
  • Obtain Driver’s License:
      • Obtain a driver’s license or state ID card from the chosen state. This often requires proof of residency, such as utility bills or a lease agreement
  • Register to Vote:
      • Register to vote in the state. This is a clear indicator of your intent to establish domicile
  • Change Mailing Address:
      • Update your mailing address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to reflect your new permanent address
  • Establish Financial Ties:
      • Open a bank account in the state and update your address with existing financial institutions
      • Establishing financial ties in the state helps demonstrate your commitment to residency
  • Employment and Income:
      • Secure employment in the U.S.
      • Having a job and a stable income in the state strengthens your ties and intent to establish domicile
  • File State & Federal Taxes:
      • File state income & federal tax returns
      • This is a significant indicator of your residency
  • Insurance and Registration:
    • Update auto and health insurance policies with your new address
    • Also, update vehicle registration information

Learn More:

Affidavit of Support, Form I-864