Beginning October 6, 2015 and recently announced by USCIS and Department of State, it will be required for just about all intending immigrants who require the affidavit of support to overcome public charge provision to use new forms. The forms impacted are Form I-864 and I-864A.
Changes to Form I-864 and I-864A
The standard and obligations of support remain the same but the new forms do ask for certification from the preparer and interpreter of these documents. USCIS is seeking no defense for when the government has to enforce the obligations under the affidavit of support. Thus it is crucial that the person who is doing the affidavit of support understand everything the obligations state on form I-864 or I-864A.
What is the Affidavit of Support?
The affidavit of support is a contract between the petitioner or co-sponsor and the United States government. The US government can seek money if the immigrant used US government public benefits. These benefits are usually among the following five means tested programs:
- Food Stamp
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Non-Emergency Medicaid
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
A few benefits are excluded from reimbursement:
- Emergency Medicaid or similar emergency medical aid, immunizations, testing and treatment for communicable disease symptoms not covered by Medicaid
- Short-term emergency aid (non-cash)
- School meals
- Head Start
- Job Training Partnership Act programs
- Student financial aid
- A couple of non-cash services that are not income based
- Non “means-tested” programs
What are the Obligations of the Immigrant?
The requirements for the immigrant under the affidavit of support continue until:
- He or she Becomes a U.S. citizen; or
- Earns credit for 40 quarters (~10 years) of US work history
- Permanently leaves the United States
The sponsor’s obligation also ends upon their death.