As part of the K-1 fiancé visa application process, the U.S. consulate will require applicants to show that they are not likely to become public charges—that is, someone who will depend on government assistance or welfare. Typically, the U.S. citizen is asked to show that they 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 within the I-134 is sufficient.
Below are some tips on filling out Form I-134 and preparing the accompanying documents. This article discusses the version of the form dated 04/25/22. It was substantially revised from the previous version, and the USCIS instructions don't make it entirely clear how each question should be handled. The guidance below is based on our understanding of the U.S. government's goals in collecting this information.
For Form I-134, the petitioner needs to show an income of at least 100% of amounts listed per family size in the federal Poverty Guidelines. The Form I-134 becomes part of the immigrant's permanent record, however, and consular officers are aware that the visa applicant will have to meet a higher, 125% requirement just a few months later if and when adjusting status to U.S. conditional resident. Therefore, we recommend that, if possible, the I-134 shows that the U.S. spouse meets the 125% requirement even at this point.
Part 1. Basis for Filing
As someone sponsoring a fiancé, it only makes sense to check box b (the fiancé being the beneficiary of the visa petition).
Part 2. Information About the Beneficiary
Form I-134 starts by asking about the foreign-born person being sponsored. Fill in the personal information. Make sure not to check "married" in answer to the question about the person's marital status, since that would disqualify them for a K-1 visa.
For Question 16, concerning the "length of stay," it makes sense to say "No end date" if the foreign-born person plans to apply for adjustment of status in the United States. If the foreign-born person plans only to get married and then return home, however, you would want to supply an end date for their stay, 90 days after the estimated entry date.
Question 17 is expanded from what the Form I-134 asked for before. It refers to income that the person will have after arriving in the United States. There's no obligation for fiancés to be self-supporting, so don't get too worried about this; it's unlikely the fiancé will have a source of income lined up in the United States after arrival (unless they can continue a remote job). But if the foreign fiancé has assets that will help them to be self-supporting in the United States, it will help the application to list them in Question 22. See the USCIS instructions to the form for details on what assets qualify.
Part 3. Information About the Individual Agreeing to Financially Support the Beneficiary Named in Part 2
This section asks for information about the U.S. citizen sponsor. The information about employment, income, and assets is key to proving to the U.S. government that the K-1 entrant will not become dependent on "means-tested public benefits," often referred to as welfare.
Question 15 hasn't been explained by USCIS. It seems to refer primarily to situations where someone is sponsoring a distant relative, and must promise to grant them regular income. As a fiancé, you'd more likely want to share your entire income; but then again, after taxes and so on, you can't really "grant" your fiancé the entire amount. Pick a number that makes sense to you.
Under the section on "Financial Responsibility for Other Beneficiaries," realize that the U.S. government will evaluate your overall capacity to simultaneously sponsor various people. You don't want to be spread too thin.
Question 24 also refers to specific grants of money, which it makes little sense to allocate to the person you'll be marrying. That's why our sample has the "do not intend" box checked.
You can ignore Part 4. And the remaining sections are self-explanatory, mostly calling for the sponsor's signature and contact information, along with those of any professionals who helped prepare the form.
Along with Form I-134, the U.S. citizen should provide copies of documents proving 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 online or by using IRS Form 4506T, available through the IRS website at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-829-1040.
However, it can take 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. Make sure the copy is of a form with the petitioner's signature on it, or that you send a copy of the e-signature authorization.
If you are self-employed, instead of a copy of your last income tax return filed, the State Department will accept a report from a commercial rating concern (a company that provides credit reports about businesses).
Letter from U.S. citizen's bank(s) confirming the account(s). The U.S. citizen should ask all of his or her banks holding money reported in 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.
Bond information. If you stated the amount of bonds you hold, create a list containing their serial numbers and denominations with the name of the record owner(s) of each bond.
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
Proof of Any Assets Listed on the Form
This might include, for example, the title to a home, car, or boat, along with appraisal reports; or a copy of a recent statement from an investment or retirement account.
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