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News: Affidavits of Support

Affidavits of Support
On June 27, 2006, the USCIS posted an updated H-1B U.S. Advanced Degree exemption cap count based upon data collected on June 23, 2006. As of that date, the USCIS counted 11,918 U.S. Advanced Degree exemption petitions. However, this figure does not include an additional 800 U.S. Advanced Degree exemption petitions received but not yet data-entered.

On June 21, 2006, the USCIS published its final Rule regarding Affidavits of Support (Form I-864). Such affidavits of Support are submitted by sponsors on behalf of most family-based and some employment-based immigrants. The final rule takes effect July 21, 2006 and will apply to any application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status that is decided on or after July 21, 2006, even if the case was filed before July 21, 2006.

The following are some of the highlights in the final rule:

1. Each sponsor is now required to submit as initial evidence only his or her single most recent tax return rather than tax returns from the three most recent federal tax returns, pay stub(s) covering the most recent six months, and an employer letter.

2. A new EZ Affidavit of Support has been introduced. Form I-864EZ is a short form Affidavit of Support to be used by certain petitioning sponsors who rely only upon their own employment to meet the affidavit of support requirements.

3. A new Intending Immigrantís I-864 Exemption has been introduced. Form I-864W is designed to standardize the process which certain immigrants must follow to establish that they are not required to have an affidavit of support filed on their behalf.

4. The Affidavit of Support has been eliminated in certain cases: a) sponsored immigrants who have, or can be credited with, 40 quarters of covered employment; and b) adopted children who will qualify for citizenship immediately upon entry under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

5. The Rules reduces the amount of assets that certain sponsors must show in order to cover any shortfall in their household income. For example, for sponsors of immediate relative spouses and children of U.S. citizens, the amount of required assets is reduced from five times to three times the difference between the governing poverty guideline and actual household income. For sponsors of alien orphan intending immigrants, where the orphan will acquire citizenship after admission because of adoption in the U.S. or formal recognition of the foreign adoption, the amount of required assets is reduced to the difference between the governing poverty guideline and actual household income.



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