Do I qualify for an I-864 Waiver?
When submitting an Adjustment of Status application, a key part of your application packet is form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This form will require the person submitting a petition for you to prove that they can financially support you, and agree under enforceable contract that their income and assets are available to you if needed. For many people it can be one of the most complicated parts of the application, if multiple sponsors are needed in order to provide sufficient financial support.
However, did you know that in certain circumstances, form I-864 is waived, and you can submit the form I-864 Waiver (I-864W) instead?
You are eligible for the I-864 Waiver on the basis of previous U.S. employment if:
- You have been lawfully employed in the U.S. for 40 Social Security quarters (usually about 10 years);
- You have been married to your U.S.-citizen/resident spouse while they have worked in the U.S. for 40 Social Security quarters (usually about 10 years);
- Your U.S.-citizen/resident parent worked in the U.S. for 40 Social Security quarters (usually about 10 years) before you turned 18;
- A combination of the above.
For example, if you have lived in the U.S. for 10 or more years working full-time as an H-1B visa holder, and you are now applying for Adjustment of Status after getting married to a U.S. citizen, you will have most likely already earned 40 Social Security quarters on your own. This will satisfy USCIS financial support requirements without needing anyone else to pledge their financial support.
The same idea applies if you have been married to your U.S.-citizen/resident spouse for 10 or more years, and throughout those 10 years they have been working full time and have earned 40 Social Security quarters. These can be credited to you and there is no need for your spouse to fill out the more-complicated and legally binding form I-864. This also works if your U.S.-citizen/resident parent had already worked for 10 years in the U.S. before you turned 18.
USCIS also allows you to combine the above 3 options for proving I-864W eligibility. For example, if you’ve only worked in the U.S. for 5 years, but during those 5 years you were married to your U.S.-citizen spouse who was also working all 5 years, you can combine your 20 individual Social Security quarters each to reach a total of 40.
To prove that you qualify, you will need to request a statement from the Social Security Administration to submit together with your form as evidence. If you are applying on the basis of your spouse or parent’s Social Security quarters, you will need to submit a copy of their Social Security statement as well. You can request these statements on the SSA website here.
You are also automatically eligible for the I-864 Waiver if you are applying for Adjustment of Status on the basis of VAWA, Self-Petition as the Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen, or under the Child Citizenship Act.