Avoiding the Affidavit of Support

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This page provide an outline of which U.S. family Green Card applicants might be able to avoid filing an Affidavit of Support form. For those who qualify, the Petitioning sponsor files a request for exemption through Form I-864W.

Automatic Citizenship

When family applicants are set to automatically become a U.S. citizen when they are admitted to the United States as a Green Card holder (Lawful Permanent Resident), Petitioning sponsors do not have to file an Affidavit of Support, but a request for an exemption (form I-864W).

This exemption is a consequence of the Child Citizenship Act, which provides for expedited naturalization of foreign born children who are minor and meet certain requirements.

Family applicants have to meet every single one of the following criteria:

  • They are children of the Petitioning sponsor
  • The Petitioning sponsor is a U.S. Citizen
  • They are 17 years or younger when they seek admission in the United States with the temporary Green Card stamp in their passport
  • They are going to be in the legal and physical custody of the Petitioning sponsor once their Green Card is obtained.

40 qualifying quarters of U.S. Social Security coverage

When family applicants have already earned 40 qualifying quarters of U.S. social security coverage, Petitioning sponsors do not have to file an Affidavit of Support, but a request for an exemption (form I-864W).

Generally, family applicants who are able to invoke this exemption share the following two characteristics:

  • They have worked legally at a job or as a self-employed individual in the United States
  • They have been making social security payments on their legal earnings

Some of the family applicants who are able to invoke this exemption are able to complement their own qualifying quarters with those of their spouse and parent:

  • If the applicant is the spouse of the petitioning sponsor, then the quarters of Social Security received by Petitioning sponsors while they are married to applicants can be credited to applicants.
  • The quarters of Social Security received by parents of applicants while applicants are under the age of 18 can be credited to applicants

Note that quarters of Social Security accrued by a spouse or parent during which the spouse or parent was receiving means-tested public benefits (such as Social Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps, Medicaid, or State Child Health Insurance Programs, as well as State and local means-tested benefits which vary by jurisdiction) cannot be used to complement the family applicant’s quarters.

In any given year, a Social Security contributor can receive up to a maximum of 4 quarters. In 2016, a social security contributor gets one quarter for every $1,260 of earnings. Social Security statements are to be used as Supporting Documents and can be found at: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

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