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We are proud to work with domestic violence advocates and other allies in the community to serve disadvantaged immigrant clients. Our attorneys may be able to recover financial support that can help our mutual client transition to a life of self sufficiency. We are able to provide these services at no upfront cost to the client. This page helps advocates identify clients who might benefit from the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support and describes the services we offer to the community.

Which of my clients might qualify for Form I-864 support?

  • Immigrated on family-based petition. The individual must have become a lawful permanent resident (LPR, "greencard holder") based on a petition filed by a U.S. citizen or LPR family member. The vast majority of individuals who seek immigration financial support came to the U.S. on marriage-based or fiancé(e) visas.  
  • Separated or divorced. In a marriage- based or fiancé(e) case the immigrant should be separated or divorced from the sponsor. In other family-based cases, such as a parental petitions, this does not apply.
  • Unemployed/under-employed. To qualify for support, the individual must earn less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the period where recovery is sought. If the individual was previously unemployed after separating from her sponsor, she may qualify for recovery even if she is now employed.
  • Children. The individual may be able to recover additional immigration financial support if she has children.

What if my client fits that descritption?

If you know an individual who fits the description above, we are happy to provide a free case assessment of whether they may qualify for support under the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. These assessments are provided free of charge and do not obligate your client to work with our firm. To get started, just follow the link below. We will need the name of the individual's immigration sponsor(s) in order to perform our mandatory conflict of interest check.

Make use of our many free resources.

Want to learn more about the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support? Read on. Our freely available articles offer the most comprehensive treatment anywhere on this area of the law.

View a 1-hour training.

Watch a training that we recorded in partnership with End Violence Against Women International.

How much money could my client recover?

Claimants may be entitled to recover 125% of the Federal Poverty Guideline for their household size, minus any actual income. Under current guidelines, a single individual could recover $1,238 per month.

How does my client recover support?

Like any legal claim, there are basically two options. In some cases it is possible to reach a negotiated settlement with the sponsor. If not, a lawsuit can be brought in state or federal court to enforce the obligation.

What is the Form I-864?

When one spouse helps another immigrate to the U.S. he is require to sign an I-864, Affidavit of Support. The I-864 is a binding legal contract where the sponsor promises to provide financial support to the immigrant. If the sponsor stops providing support to the immigrant, the immigrant can bring a lawsuit.

How much financial support must be provided?"

The sponsor promises to provide support equal to 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This is $14,363 annually ($1,197 per month) for a single individual. The immigrant will be able to collect money from the sponsor only if she does not have another source of income. So if the immigrant is earning $2,000 per month, she will not be able to collect I-864 support from her sponsor.

When does the right to immigration financial support start?

A sponsor is required to provide support to an immigrant once the immigrant achieves status as a “lawful permanent resident” (i.e., gets her green card).

When does it end?

Only five events end the sponsor’s support obligations: when the beneficiary:

  1. becomes a U.S. citizen;
  2. can be credited with 40 quarters of work under the Social Security Act;
  3. is no longer a permanent resident and has left the U.S.;
  4. after being ordered deported seeks permanent residency based on a different I-864; or
  5. dies.

Divorce does not end a sponsor’s support duty.

What if my client is divorced or is already divorced? 

Divorce or legal separation does not end the I-864 support duty. Even if a couple is divorced the sponsor must still provide support. If you are in the process of getting divorced you should make sure your divorce attorney tells the judge about the sponsor’s I-864 support responsibility. This is very important because you might not be able to bring a separate lawsuit.

How can my client enforce the right to support?

Immigrants have successfully sued sponsors in both state and federal courts. The appropriate forum depends on a number of factors, including the relative speeds at which dockets progress in your local courts.

What is a joint sponsor?

If the U.S. spouse does not have sufficient financial resources, the immigration agencies may require addition “joint-sponsors" to sign additional I-864s. These joint sponsors are also responsible for ensuring the immigrant has financial resources. Joint sponsors are what is called “jointly and severally liable," which means the immigrant may choose to collect support from any individual who signed an I-864. If the sponsor refuses to provide support the immigrant may bring a law suit.