If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsoring an immigrant for a family-based or employment-based visa, you will likely be required to file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. The form is used to show that you can financially support the intending immigrant and that they will not become a public charge. When filing Form I-864, one of the most common questions is whether a W-2 form is required to demonstrate your income. In this article, we look at this question.
Yes, copies of FORM W-2 are required to be submitted with FORM I-864 if they are available, but they are not the only source of evidence of income of the sponsor.
What is Form I-864?
Form I-864, also known as the Affidavit of Support, is a legal document used in the United States immigration process to show that the intending immigrant will not become a public charge (i.e., dependent on government assistance) because they have financial support from a sponsor who is willing and able to provide for them.
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is required for most family-based immigrant visas. The person who signs the Affidavit of Support is called the sponsor. The sponsor is usually the petitioner. In certain cases, a joint sponsor is required.
By signing the I-864 Affidavit of Support, the sponsor agrees to financially support the intending immigrant if necessary and to repay any means-tested public benefits that the immigrant receives while they are in the United States.
The sponsor must also demonstrate that their income meets or exceeds 125% of the federal poverty guidelines for their household size, to ensure that they can provide financial support.
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is a legally binding contract that remains in effect until the intending immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, or earns 40 quarters of work credit.
Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
The W-2 form is a tax document that reports the total amount of money an employer has paid an employee in wages, tips, and other compensation during the tax year. Employers are required to provide W-2 forms to their employees by January 31 of each year, and employees use the information on the form to complete their federal and state income tax returns.
The form includes information such as the employee’s Social Security number, name, address, and the amount of federal, state, and other taxes withheld from the employee’s paycheck during the year. The employer is also required to send a copy of the W-2 form to the Social Security Administration and the state taxing authority.
In immigration cases where the sponsor has to demonstrate income, FORM W2 is used as proof of last year’s income.
Is Form W-2 required when filing I-864 with USCIS or NVC?
If a petitioner worked for an employer in the preceding year and was not a contractor, the employer must have issued a W-2 form to them. In this case, the W-2 form is required and should be included with the sponsor’s tax returns and other I-864 evidence. All W-2 forms from the previous year should be provided.
Form I-864 and evidence of income must also be submitted to the National Visa Center in certain cases. When submitting documents to the NVC, W-2 forms of the sponsor must also be submitted. Specifically, the NVC asks for all W-2 forms issued to the sponsor for the previous tax year.
Given extremely long wait times in NVC processing, petitioners and beneficiaries can save on processing time by providing timely and correct forms of evidence. If you have questions about what type of evidence must be submitted, the poverty guidelines, or who can sponsor the beneficiary, contact our law office.