Form I-134 Affidavit of Support for B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas3 min read
The Murthy Law Firm regularly gets inquiries from individuals who are in the United States and who wish to “sponsor” a friend or family member for B-1/B-2 visitor visas. The reality is that, ordinarily, one cannot be sponsored for a standard B-1/B-2 visa. However, an individual in the U.S. can give financial sponsorship through the submission of a signed affidavit of help, utilizing form I-134. For some candidates, however, submitting this form could cause more damage than good.
Applicant’s Qualifications Determine Visa Eligibility | B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas
It is important to note that consular officials adjudicate B-1/B-2 visas based exclusively upon the personal qualifications of the candidate. No document given by somebody in the United States can ensure visa issuance. Essentially, there is no document or set of documents that will guarantee a candidate’s visitor visa approval. Consular officials are trained to focus on an applicant’s circumstances and responses to interview questions.
Financial Prowess Helpful with B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas
Finances are an important part of the B-1/B-2 application process. The DS-160 visa application asks inquiries regarding the person or entity paying for the candidate’s trip, as well as the candidate’s monthly salary. Consular officials often examine financial information during the visa interview. To determine the ability to afford the trip and to analyze the applicant’s ties to the home country to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent.
Under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, each candidate for a nonimmigrant visa is presumed to be an “intending immigrant” (for example it is assumed that the candidate plans to remain forever in the United States). The weight is on the visa candidate to beat this automatic presumption and to convince the consular officer. That s/he truly intends to depart the United States after the temporary visit.
Avoid Submission of Form I-134 unless Specifically Requested
Form I-134 is used to document the personal finances of a sponsor who lives in the United States. Support might be a U.S. resident, a lawful permanent resident, or a lawfully admitted nonimmigrant, like an individual in H1B status. The guidelines for the I-134 state that its purpose is “to show that visa candidates have sponsorship and won’t become public charges while in the United States“. The Foreign Affairs Manual gives official guidance to consular officials. Only specifically mentions the I-134 in the section regarding public charge refusals and only directs consular officers to review the form in such cases. Thus, the explicit purpose of the form is to overcome questions that a candidate might turn into a public charge – that is. Somebody who is dependent on the government for cash assistance or long-term care, which is a specific ground of inadmissibility.
Given the thin conditions in which consular officials are directed to consider the I-134. Its utility is restricted in the B-1/B-2 context to specific situations. For example, when the sponsor is identified as the person paying for the trip in the DS-160. Or when the candidate means to get medical treatment in the United States. In these situations, the I-134 may help overcome the consular official’s about the applicant’s qualifications. And the sponsor’s ability to support the applicant’s visit or treatment. However, the form should typically only be presented if the consular officer requests it.
Form I-134 to Supplement Applicant’s Financial Ability
The I-134 can be a red flag to a consular official, indicating that the candidate is unable to afford the trip or lacks financial or business ties to the home country. Thus, the I-134 should not be utilized instead of personal financial documents. But rather to supplement documents establishing the applicant’s personal and financial qualifications in some situations.
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The I-134 should not be utilized as a general sponsorship document and typically should be presented. Only if the consular officer asks explicitly for it. Furthermore, the form should not be offered as a substitute for the applicant’s personal financial information. Or other proof of ties to the home country. No sponsor can ensure visa issuance, and thus B-1/B-2 visa candidates are better suited. To completely document their situations and qualifications for the visa.