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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawThe I-864 Affidavit of Support: Fully Curing the Domicile Issue

The I-864 Affidavit of Support: Fully Curing the Domicile Issue

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today as a title suggests, we are going to be briefly discussing the I-864 Affidavit of Support. I am not going to be discussing the form specifically. There are multiple videos on this channel. You can use the search function on this channel or you can use the search function on our website if you are on our website viewing this video as we have transcripts and various written information on our website you can use the search function on either to find more videos from us with respect to the I-864 specifically.

But the thing to take away from this video is the so-called “domicile issue”, in some cases the “domicile paradox”. I call it the domicile paradox in the context of so-called local filings here in the Kingdom of Thailand. In Thailand we have a local USCIS office and it may be possible to file an immigrant petition on behalf of one's spouse to go to the United States here locally. But the problem with that is in order to establish domicile, or in order to establish, in order to meet the filing requirements here in the Kingdom, one has to sort of note that they are living in Thailand. This can become a problem when it comes time for the I-864 Affidavit of Support because one aspect of the adjudication the I-864 Affidavit of Support is whether or not the individual submitting the I-864 on behalf of their spouse is domiciled in the United States. Now in a legal context one can argue domicile is a place, an abode if you will that one tends to return to. The State Department takes the position that it's much more of a residency oriented sort of notion. Basically what they're looking at is that the individual in question is either taking affirmative steps to reestablish their domicile or in point of fact has a domicile in the United States. In cases involving folks like expats who have been overseas or returning home or folks that have been, that like say work for prolonged  periods of time outside the United States where domicile is brought up. Unfortunately or fortunately, there is a very clear cure for dealing with domicile and that is “return to the United States and actually start residing there again”. It is often times not a solution that many people want to hear because they don't necessarily want to travel prior to their spouse going to the United States, they don't necessarily want to go and get split up, but unfortunately it just sometimes is a sad aspect, not sad, but is an unfortunate I guess you should say aspects of the immigration process that couples sometimes who are bi-national simply have to be separated for sometimes a prolonged period of time but in some cases it might just be a few weeks. In cases where I have seen the domicile paradox come up involving an expat who has perhaps left their job in Thailand, or they have been transferred back to the United States they simply go back a couple of weeks ahead of time you know. We note that they have taken up their residence back in the United States and the domicile issue is effectively dealt with. The thing to take away from this video is domicile can be an issue, it is a squishy issue especially with respect to those who are abroad at the time of the filing because there are circumstances where the adjudicating officer can simply say “Look, I am not seeing sufficient evidence of domicile in the US or affirmative steps to reestablish that domicile”. Is there any hard and fast set of documents that can be used by an American citizen overseas to show an affirmative attempt to reestablish domicile? The short answer is "not really". There is stuff that works on many occasions, there is stuff that has worked for me in the past and for clients in the past with respect to reestablishing domicile or evidence of reestablishing domicile,   but that being said that is no definitive list of documents that is going to get you over the threshold. The one thing that can be done to definitively put that issue to rest is return to the United States.