Ink Signature No Longer Required on Affidavits of Support as of January 1, 2017

U.S. law requires potential immigrants in family-based visa categories to show that they have financial support in the United States. This is done with an Affidavit of Support submitted by the petitioner. The Affidavit of Support, which is also called Form I-864, is a legal contract between the petitioner and the U.S. government. On an Affidavit of Support form, petitioners must prove that they have the ability to financially support the visa applicant(s). Petitioners complete and submit this form to the National Visa Center (NVC) with supporting evidence of their income, such as a federal IRS tax transcript and copies of Forms W-2, as well as proof of U.S. citizenship. Petitioners must submit an Affidavit of Support no matter their level of income. Joint sponsors and household members can be used to meet the Poverty Guidelines.

As of January 1, 2017, the National Visa Center (NVC) will  no longer require original “wet ink” signatures on submitted Affidavits of Support, including Form I-864, Form I-864A, Form I-864W and Form I-864EZ.  NVC will now accept photocopies and scanned versions of these signed forms.  Please note the forms must still be signed; typed names and electronic signatures will not be accepted.  All other rules still apply.  The form must still be filled out completely; the financial sponsor’s name and personal information must still be included;  and all pages and supporting documents must be included.  Sponsors must still be domiciled (that is, reside) in the United States, along with all other Affidavit of Support basics.    

Applicants who have received “checklist” letters prior to January 1, 2017, asking them to submit a corrected Form I-864, must still follow the instructions on that letter. If the only item on your checklist letter is a request for an original (in ink) signature, please contact NVC at 1-603-334-0700. A request from NVC for an original signature looks like this:

[ x ] In Part 8. Sponsor’s Contract, please correct the following…
        [ x ] Item 6.a. You must sign the form and your signature must be
                                original (in ink).

NVC will continue to use an “assessment letter” to address other apparent inconsistencies or errors that they find on a submitted Form I-864. The assessment letter identifies issues that could delay the adjudication of a visa application and encourages the applicant to correct these issues before the interview. If NVC sends you an assessment letter, you do not need to submit a new Form I-864 and/or financial evidence to NVC. Instead, bring a corrected form and any suggested documents to your interview.

The improvement will greatly simplify and speed up the submission of financial evidence in support of a visa application.  To learn about more Affidavit of Support basics, consult the U.S. Department of State website.