Does an affidavit of support need to be notarized?
If you’ve thought about sponsoring an immigrant to live in the USA, then you’ve probably heard of an affidavit of support.
This legal document declares financial responsibility for the sponsored immigrant.
We’re going to explore what an affidavit of support is, who should file it, the necessary documents to include in the application and whether it should be notarized.
Then, you can learn how to make the immigration process — and anything else that needs accurate paperwor — easier with PandaDoc.
What is an affidavit of support?
In a nutshell, an affidavit of support is a legal document that someone (usually a US citizen or permanent resident) signs to declare financial responsibility for an immigrant who wants to live in the USA permanently.
You can think of this as a sort of “sponsorship” agreement.
The purpose is to ensure that the sponsored immigrant doesn’t become a public charge, relying on government assistance programs for financial support.
By signing the affidavit of support, the sponsor is saying, “I’ve got this person’s back, and I’ll make sure they’re financially taken care of while they’re here.”
Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not exactly.
There are lots of legal hoops to jump through and requirements to be checked off before the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will approve a valid application.
That’s why it’s super important to research the process before you start, so you can determine what documentation is needed and who you’ll need to send it to.
But don’t worry. With a little bit of patience and a lot of determination, you can make it through this process successfully.
Looking for information on other types of written legal statements?
See our page: What is an affidavit?
Who should file an affidavit of support?
In short, the person who wants to sponsor an immigrant for permanent residency will be the one who needs to file an affidavit of support.
Specifically, they’ll need to send Form I-864 to the USCIS on behalf of an intending immigrant.
This essentially serves as a contract between the sponsor and the US government.
So, who’s eligible to send this form? Generally, sponsors fall into three categories:
- US citizens: People who were born in the USA or went through the naturalization process to become a citizen.
- Permanent residents: Also known as “Green Card” holders, these are people who are authorized to live and work in the USA permanently (but lack some rights such as voting in elections).
- Businesses and charities: Registered organizations can also file affidavits of support for foreign workers they want to bring into the country.
It’s common to see affidavits of support applied for by people on behalf of their family members, spouses, friends, business partners, or promising new hires.
Although, in theory, you could support anyone you choose in this way.
Affidavit of support checklist of necessary documents
Documents from the sponsor:
- Form I-864 (also known as the affidavit support form).
- Evidence of income/assets: Employment forms, tax history, bank/investment account statements, or property deeds.
Together, these documents demonstrate whether a sponsor meets the minimum income requirements to be able to support the immigrant.
If they can’t meet these requirements independently, they may need to find a co-sponsor (who is also a US citizen, permanent resident, or organization).
It’s also worth noting that the sponsor’s obligation to support the immigrant financially lasts until they become a US citizen, earn 40 quarters of work credit (usually about ten years), leave the US permanently, or pass away.
For further information, see our page: What does signing an affidavit mean?
Documents from the immigrant:
- ID documents:
- Copy of your birth certificate
- Copy of your passport
- Other immigration documents, such as a visa or I-94
- Evidence of income/assets: Not strictly necessary, but it may help your application.
- Supporting documents: For instance, divorce decrees, child support orders, or evidence of a previously-signed affidavit of support.
Should an affidavit of support be notarized?
You may be wondering: Does an affidavit of support need to be notarized? It’s a common question, but the answer is not a clear-cut yes or no.
First, let’s explain what notarization actually means.
Essentially, when you notarize a document, you’re having a licensed notary public verify your identity and witness your signature.
A notary public is a legal officer, such as a qualified lawyer, who specializes in notarizing affidavits and other documents.
Many government agencies require the notarization of affidavits, as it adds an extra layer of security to documentation.
While the USCIS does not strictly require the notarization of an affidavit of support, it is often recommended for the following reasons:
- It helps ensure the authenticity of your application
- To satisfy the requirements of other government agencies or foreign entities that may be involved in the process.
For instance, some foreign governments or agencies require notarization of affidavits of support before they will issue a visa or a permit.
So, you may find that it goes hand in hand with the broader process of moving to the USA.
If you choose to notarize your affidavit of support, you should check out PandaDoc’s online notarization service for further help.
Ease the immigration process with an affidavit of support
An affidavit of support is a vital legal document that helps ensure a successful immigration process.
Although it may seem like a daunting task, with due care and attention to detail, it can ease the move between countries for both the sponsor and the immigrant.
Looking to get started? Luckily for you, PandaDoc has your back.
Our document creation tool includes hundreds of templates that make creating affidavits a breeze.
Plus, our collaboration features make it easy for multiple parties to work on perfecting an application in real time.
Good luck! And while you’re here, be sure to check out our affidavit of support form template.