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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawUS Visas and the Child Citizenship Act: the I-864W Affidavit of Support

US Visas and the Child Citizenship Act: the I-864W Affidavit of Support

Transcript of the above video:

In this video as the title suggests we will be discussing the I-864W form, again briefly and within a limited context.  

What is the I-864W? It’s actually a rather interesting form. I have used it primarily in the context of child citizenship act cases. Those are cases in which there is an American citizen parent of a child born outside the United States, well a child can be born inside United States, but a child born outside the United States to an American citizen parent and the parent could not automatically transmit United States citizenship at the time of the child’s birth. For more information specifically on the child citizenship act and the ramifications thereof, I suggest checking out the video specific to the Child Citizenship Act on this channel. But that being said, moving forward there are scenarios where an American citizen can sire or give birth to a child abroad and not be able to automatically transmit their United States citizenship at the time of birth. This is based on relevant statutory law with respect to this issue; a requisite amount of presence in the United States needs to be met in order to automatically transmit birthright citizenship to a US citizen child born abroad. In those instances where that does not occur it is possible for the American citizen to file an Immigrant visa petition on behalf of the underlying child and go ahead and process that immigrant visa petition through the relevant organs of the Department of Homeland Security and then go ahead and Consular process the visa petition at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad.  Under normal circumstances when processing an immigrant visa, you are going to need use a forms such as the I-864 or I-864a; for more information on both of those forms, I suggest checking out their respective videos on this channel. Going back to the I-864W, in the instances involving American citizen parents with non-transmitted, non US citizen children, and this is specifically within the context of minor children, the I-864W is going to be necessary. What is it? Well, the I-864W is an interesting form because in general, the I-864 creates, a financial obligation on the signer with respect to various merit based, or I should say, needs based benefits in the United States. So if the signer of an I-864 brings an American citizen spouse into the United States and let’s say they get divorced and then that immigrant spouse goes on to “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” or some other need based, for lack of a better term, welfare initiative in the United States. Under those circumstances, the person who signed the I-864 is liable back to the US Government for reimbursement of the capital spent on the individual who is utilizing those benefits; and there is some case law on this topic specific to this issue.  The interesting thing about child citizenship act cases is, children who are born to US citizens abroad but who do not obtain their citizenship automatically at birth, that American citizen can petition for an immigrant visa for that child, that child can travel with that American citizen into the United States in order to take up residence in the United States, and this is key, upon admission into the United States of America, by US Customs and Border Protection, as long as that child is a minor, is coming in on immigrant status, and has a US citizen parent upon entering into the United States, that child becomes what’s known as a United States Citizen by operation of law. So they become a US citizen; it’s almost like a Plenary Indulgence with respect to the Catholic Church. By passing through the Customs and Border Control Protection and being lawfully admitted, that individual just becomes a US citizen at that moment.  So the interesting thing is, upon becoming a United States citizen, in a sort of more routine context, let’s go back to the I-864, if that immigrant spouse was to naturalize to US citizenship, the I-864’s obligations are extinguished and that now US citizen can go on “means tested benefits” in the United States, in and of themselves; they are a United States citizen. So the I-864 obligations no longer apply. It is extinguished against that American citizen sponsor from the previous immigrant visa application. Because the child travelling through Customs and Border Protection becomes a United States citizen by operation of law automatically at entry, this whole issue of reimbursement to the Government is kind of a moot point. So essentially the immigration apparatus came up with the form                I-864W which is effectively a truncated I-864,  I guess in theory for that brief window in time between coming off the plane and being admitted through immigration, where that person is sort of in limbo, but upon being admitted to the United States, so long as that child remains a minor accompanied by their US citizen parent in immigrant status, they become a US citizen by operation of law, these I-864 obligations are extinguished and it’s all sort of a moot point. So there’s a reason why there’s a specific form, the I-864W, exactly for these sets of circumstances.