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Is the I-134 immigration document legally binding?

It is supposedly an "affidavit of support" but it is not the I-864. I have someone who is very hesitant to sign it but I am trying to explain that it is not legally binding. However, I need the support to bring my fiancee to the USA.

  • I'm seeing references that you'll have to submit a I-864 when you apply to change your spouse's status. If you can't support an I-134 without a co-sponsor, what are you going to do for the I-864? – mkennedy Jan 3 '16 at 3:49
  • I can't comment yet I guess (not enough reputation), but for the I-864 you are allowed to use the alien (my fiancee)'s assets to meet the requirement. Likewise I actually intend to have a job that has the minimum income by the time we need to apply for that. So this is just for the I-134 to get my fiancee here to the US. – Jimm Jan 3 '16 at 4:32
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    I am pretty sure you can always comment on your own questions regardless of reputation. It looks like you created a second account. – Matt Jan 3 '16 at 5:44
  • @Jimm, Matt is correct - it looks like you have created a second account. Please use the contact link to request an account merge. – jimsug Jan 3 '16 at 5:48
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The I-134 is not legally binding.

From the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(2)(f)(3)(a):

Nevertheless, there still are circumstances when Form I-134 will be beneficial. This affidavit, submitted by the applicant at your request, is not legally binding on the sponsor and should not be accorded the same weight as Form I-864.

From USCIS's Adjudicator's Field Manual, Chapter 30.8, the section on I-134s:

Such affidavits, although helpful in judging financial ability, are not legally binding.

Here is a federal district court opinion that confirms I-134 is not legally binding, and cites several legal precedents to support this (page 10-11):

C. Affidavit of Support

Zirintusa asserts that Whitaker breached the Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) submitted to the INS, in which Whitaker promised to provide room, board, and tuition to Zirintusa for a period of three years. Whitaker argues that the Affidavit of Support is not a binding contract between the parties. Federal Courts have repeatedly sided with Whitaker. See, e.g., Cheshire v. Cheshire, No. 3:05-CV-00453-TJC-MCR, 2006 WL 1208010, at *2 (M.D. Fla. May 4, 2006) (“[F]ederal courts have consistently found that Form I-134 is not a legally enforceable contract against a sponsor by a sponsored immigrant.”); Stump v. Stump, No. 1:04-CV-253-TS, 2005 WL 1290658, at *4 (N.D. Ind. May 27, Case 1:05-cv-01738-EGS Document 39
Filed 01/03/07 Page 10 of 20 11 2005) (finding that the I-134 Form “is a nonenforceable promise by the sponsor to support the alien”); Tornheim v. Kohn, No. 00 CV 5084(SJ), 2002 WL 482534, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Mar, 26, 2002) (“[A]n affidavit of support on an I-134 Form is not a legally binding contract.”). The Court sees no reason to disagree with the holdings of these courts. Thus, the Court grants Whitaker’s motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Zirintusa’s claim for breach of the Affidavit of Support.

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