I-134 Affidavit of Support: Instructions and Tips for Sponsors of Foreign Visitors

Form I-134 is filled out by U.S. sponsors to show the U.S. government that they are able and willing to support a non-U.S. citizen financially during that person’s temporary stay in the United States.

By , J.D. · University of Washington School of Law

Form I-134, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is meant to be filled out by U.S. sponsors to show the U.S. government that they are able and willing to support a non-U.S. citizen financially during that person's temporary stay in the United States. It is most commonly used in connection with visitor visas, fiancé visas (K-1), and diversity visas where the foreign visitor's income alone is not sufficient to avoid the risk of being found inadmissible as a likely "public charge."

This form is available for free download on the I-134 Affidavit of Support page of the USCIS website. Here, we'll discuss:

  • who can serve as a sponsor and fill out this support affidavit
  • what sort of legal obligation one's signature on a Form I-134 constitutes
  • particular advice for visitor, K-1, and diversity visa applicants, and
  • tips on filling out the form and preparing supporting documentation.

Who Can Fill Out the Form I-134 Affidavit

The person signing the Form I-134 needs to be either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The signer might be asked to show that their income is at least 100% of the amounts listed per family size in the federal Poverty Guidelines, and possibly 125% when sponsoring someone for an immigrant visa (permanent residence). You can find this amount by looking at Form I-864P on the USCIS website.

What Level of Responsibility Is the I-134 Signer Taking On?

One of the most common questions asked by U.S. citizens or permanent residents filling out Form I-134 is, "Will I really have to pay money for this person?"

The U.S. consulate can, in fact, ask the signer to post a bond to guarantee that the person will comply with the terms of the visa and depart on time (in which case the sponsor would get the money back). However, the consulate usually does so only in borderline cases.

Also, in theory, if the person being sponsored receives government assistance in the United States, the government agency can sue the sponsor for reimbursement. However, enforcement of this provision is rare, and many lawyers believe that Form I-134 would not hold up in court anyway.

Special Advice for Visitor Visa Applicants Concerning Form I-134

One of the biggest hurdles that applicants for visitor visas (category B-1 or B-2) to the U.S. face is proving that it is not their true, hidden intent to remain in the U.S. and, for instance, find a job and settle down permanently.

One of the things they must prove in order to overcome that hurdle is that they have enough money to pay for their entire U.S. stay without working. If they can prove this on their own, then submitting a Form I-134 is unnecessary.

If the case is a marginal one, however, and the prospective visitor has family or friends in the U.S., these U.S. relatives can help out by preparing a Form I-134 and sending it to the applicant for presentation at the visa interview at a U.S. consulate. The Affidavit will not be accepted automatically as proof that the immigrant will not become a public charge, but it can help. A letter of invitation might also help in this regard.

Special Advice for K-1 Fiancé Visa Applicants Concerning Form I-134

Some, but not all consulates reviewing a fiancé visa application (category K-1) might require the U.S. citizen petitioner to fill out Form I-134 as part of it.

But regardless, all consulates will require some evidence that the foreign-born fiancé won't need to go on welfare or receive other government financial assistance during the 90-day stay in the U.S. on a fiancé visa.

One important thing to realize is that the Form I-134 is an easier version of the I-864 Affidavit of Support that the U.S. petitioner will later need to fill out, if and when the couple marries and the immigrant applies for adjustment of status (a green card) in the United States on that basis. Not only is Form I-864 longer and more complex, but the income requirements are different. For the Form I-864, the petitioner will need to show an income of at least 125% of amounts listed in the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.

U.S. consular officers are well aware that the foreign-born fiancé will likely have to meet the 125% requirement just a few months later. If that looks impossible at the K-1 interview stage, they might deny right there, particularly if it's clear the immigrant hopes to adjust status and get a green card. Therefore it's best, if possible, to show that the U.S. spouse meets the 125% requirement as part of the K-1 fiancé visa application process.

Special Advice for Diversity Visa Applicants Concerning Form I-134

As someone applying for a U.S. green card, you must show that you are not inadmissible. That term means ineligible for U.S. entry due to a negative health, criminal, or other type of record.

If you appear likely to become a "public charge" (depend on need-based government assistance), you are inadmissible, despite having won the green card lottery.

You can overcome this finding by showing that you have savings, assets that can be sold, sources of income that will continue after you are living in the United States, and/or a job offer from a U.S. employer. However, if this is not sufficient, you might need to find a friend or relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to prepare an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) for you, which you would include with your green card application.

Line-by-Line Advice for Preparing USCIS Form I-134

These instructions refer to the version of the form issued 11/09/23.

Part 1: Basis for Filing

Most likely the U.S. sponsor will check the second box, because they're filing this in order to promise support to someone else.

Part 2: Information About the Beneficiary

This part refers to the foreign-born visitor. Most of it is self-explanatory biographical information and asks for details of their planned trip to the United States. Financial information regarding income and assets is also requested (with documents to back it up), since the whole point of this form is to assure the U.S. government that the visitor won't need to look for financial support while in the United States.

For fiancés, some special advice applies here: "Marital Status" should, of course, be "single," since the person is coming to the United States for the precise purpose of getting married. And for "Beneficiary's Anticipated Length of Stay," if the foreign national intends to seek a green card, you can simply check the box for "No End Date."

Part 3: Information About the Individual Agreeing to Financially Support the Beneficiary Named in Part 2: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident must fill in their name, address, immigration status, and other personal information. This includes information about place of employment or source of income, to prove the ability to financially support the foreign visitor.

With regard to Question 17, if the sponsor's income alone is sufficient for the responsibility being taken on, the assets become irrelevant, so the sponsor won't really need to list each and every asset. The questions about assets can become important, however, in cases where the U.S. sponsor's income does not meet the Poverty Guidelines levels.

If this is a fiancé visa application, the sponsor will, when it comes time for the green card application in the United States, have to prove ownership of any assets that were used to show financial capacity. So be sure not to exaggerate assets on Form I-134.

For Question 21, the sponsor of a nonimmigrant visitor might want to explain whether they will be offering a place to stay, specific amounts of money, and so forth, to facilitate the person's trip. (But K-1 fiancé visa applicants can skip this question.)

Part 4. If you're a U.S. sponsor filling out this form for an immigrant, you can skip this section.

Part 5. Be sure, as a U.S. sponsor signing the form, that to the best of your knowledge, the answers provided are correct. There is no need to take this to a notary public for signing.

Any interpreter, lawyer, or other person helping to fill out this form must also provide information and sign in Parts 6 and 7.

Part 8 is useful if you need more space for some of your entries on the form.

What to Include With USCIS Form I-134

The sponsor should attach proof of the claimed income and/or assets, including:

  • A letter from a bank stating when the account was opened, how much was deposited over the past year, and the current balance.
  • An employer letter (on business letterhead) stating the person's job, when it began, what the salary is, and whether it's a permanent position or not.
  • Copy of last income tax return or IRS tax transcript and/or, for self-employed sponsors, a report of commercial rating concern.
  • List of bonds, with serial numbers and denominations.
  • Other documents, such as real estate or other appraisals, as appropriate to listed income or assets.

However, for a short-term nonimmigrant visa, the consulate might not actually require all these documents.

Also attach a copy of the document that shows the immigration status of the person signing the Form I-134. A copy of a U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or green card are the most likely examples.

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