As part of the fiancé visa application process, the U.S. consulate will require the applicant to show that he or she is not likely to become a public charge -- that is, receive government assistance or welfare. Typically, the U.S. citizen is asked to show that he or she will support the applicant, as described in "How Much Income a K-1 Fiancé Visa Applicant's Sponsor Needs to Show." In order to make this showing, the consulate may ask the U.S. citizen to fill out what's known as a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you have children immigrating with you, the children won’t need separate Forms I-134; listing them in Question 3 is sufficient.
Here are some tips on filling out Form I-134 and preparing the accompanying documents.
Preparing Form I-134
For Form I-134, the petitioner needs to show that his or her income is at least 100% of amounts listed per family size in the federal Poverty Guidelines. The Form I-134 becomes part of your permanent record, however, and consular officers are aware that you will have to meet a higher, 125% requirement just a few months later if and when you adjust your status to permanent resident. Therefore, we recommend that, if possible, you show that your spouse meets the 125% requirement even at this point.
Paragraph 1: The U.S. citizen petitioner and sponsor must fill in his or her name and address.
Question 1: If the U.S. sponsor was born in the U.S., then it is enough to fill in the first portion of this question, giving information about the date and place of birth. Sponsors who become U.S. citizens by other means, such as through naturalization or derivation through citizen parents, must fill in one of the remaining lines explaining this. (Note that you should NOT be choosing item d; this is only for green card holders. If you don't have U.S. citizenship, you don't qualify to sponsor someone for a K-1 visa.)
Question 2: The U.S. sponsor must state his or her age and the date since which he or she has lived in the United States.
Question 3: This is for information about the intending immigrant. “Marital Status” should, of course, be “single,” "divorced," "widowed," or anything but "married," since the immigrant is coming to the United States for the specific purpose of getting married. “Relationship to Sponsor”should be answered “fiancé” if the immgrant is a man and “fiancé” if a woman. The “spouse” line should be left blank, but if any children will be immigrating with the immigrant, enter their information on the following lines.
Question 7: The U.S. citizen must enter information about his or her place of employment. For “type of business” you can enter a position (such as “secretary” or “accountant”) or a more generic description, such as “medicine” or “sales.”
On the next set of lines, the U.S. citizen enters his or her income and assets. If the U.S. citizen’s income is sufficient for the Form I-134, the Department of State will not care about the citizen’s assets, so the U.S. citizen won’t really need to list each and every asset. The questions about assets become more important when the U.S. citizen’s income does not meet the Poverty Guidelines levels.
The question about the amount “on deposit in savings banks in the United States” can be a little confusing; it is acceptable to state amounts in checking accounts. For “personal property,” the U.S. citizen doesn’t need to consider the value of every item he or she owns. An approximate total value of cars, jewelry, appliances (stereo, television, refrigerator), cameras, and other equipment will do. Nor does the citizen have to supply proof of their ownership—yet. But when it comes time for the green card application in the United States, the U.S. citizen sponsor will have to provide proof of ownership of any assets that he or she uses to show financial capacity—so be sure not to exaggerate on Form I-134.
Question 8: Anyone whom the sponsor has listed on his/her tax returns should be entered here.
Question 9: This question attempts to find out whether the U.S. citizen is overextending him or herself financially. If he or she has filled out this form or Form I-864 (the Affidavit of Support used in green card applications) on behalf of any other immigrant, these lines should be filled in.
Question 10: For the reasons that underlie Question 9, the U.S. government wants to know whether the U.S. citizen is planning to sponsor anyone else, having filed a visa petition on their behalf. Even if the K-1 fiance is the only person being sponsored, the U.S. citizen should fill in that person's name here, with a notation by the name saying “subject of this affidavit.”
Question 11: Enter “N/A” (not applicable). This is only for visitors that are truly temporary, such as tourists.
Oath or Affirmation of Sponsor. This awful legalese just means that the U.S. citizen should be sure, before signing the form, that to the best of his or her knowledge, the answers provided are correct.
Documents to Accompany Form I-134
Along with Form I-134, the U.S. citizen should provide copies of documents proving his or her income, as described below. Not every consulate will require such extensive documentation, but in case yours does, it's best to prepare in advance rather than risk delays in the process.
Copy of most recent federal tax return. Include the W-2 slips—at least one year’s worth, and maybe three. There is no need to include the state tax form. The consulate prefers to see the tax return in the form of IRS transcripts (an IRS-generated summary of the return that was actually filed), which can be requested using IRS Form 4506T, available through the IRS website at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-829-1040. However, it is usually a wait of several weeks to get the transcript. Don’t let this hold up the immigration process. If the transcript hasn’t come by the time of the visa interview, simply use the U.S. citizen petitioner’s own, personal copies of the tax returns.
Letter from U.S. citizen’s bank(s) confirming the account(s). The U.S. citizen should ask all of his or her banks reported on page one of Form I-134 to draft simple letters confirming the accounts. The letters can be addressed “To Whom It May Concern,” and should state the date the account was opened, the total amount deposited over the last year, and the present balance. Banks will often (without your asking) also state an average balance. Be aware that if this is much lower than the present amount, the consulate will wonder whether the U.S. citizen got a quick loan from a friend to make the financial situation look more impressive. Some consulates prefer a recent bank statement instead.
Employer letter. It helps to also obtain a letter confirming the U.S. citizen sponsor's employment. Here is a sample letter, which you can show the employer when making this request.
Sample Letter From Employer
Hitting the Road Trucking
222 Plaza Place
Outthereville, MA 90000
May 22, 20xx
To Whom It May Concern:
Ron Goodley has been an employee of Hitting the Road Trucking since September 4, 20xx, a total of over five years. He has a full-time position as a driver. His salary is $45,000 per year. This position is permanent, and Ron’s prospects for performance-based advancement and salary increases are excellent.
Very truly yours,
Hitting the Road Trucking