When you sign Form I-134, Declaration of Financial of Support, you are reassuring the U.S. government that the non-immigrant whom you are supporting should not need to apply for public assistance. If the non-immigrant visitor does apply for public assistance, you will be responsible for re-paying the government. This obligation is a limited duration, is unlikely to occur, and is also unlikely to be enforced.
I-134 Enforcement is Difficult
However, enforcement of Form I-134 is unlikely and extraordinarily rare. In fact, it is commonly referred to as an “unenforceable” document by many lawyers.
Here are some of the key reasons that enforcement of Form I-134 is unlikely:
- First, non-immigrant visitors to the U.S. are not eligible for the vast majority of government-sponsored public assistance. They should be denied if they apply.
- The time frame for support is generally very short. You are only agreeing to support the visitor during the planned duration of stay.
- It’s up to the individual government agencies to recover these benefits. Even if a visitor obtained benefits, most government agencies do not have the time or resources to enforce the terms of an I-134 declaration.
When I-134 Obligation Ends
Provided that the non-immigrant visitor has not used government-sponsored public assistance, your I-134 obligations end once the non-immigrant departs the United States.
In the case of a K-1 or K-2 visa holder, the obligations related to Form I-134 end when the petitioner submits Form I-864 (or the foreign national departs the United States). Form I-864 is a similar affidavit of support that the petitioner must submit on behalf of the intending immigrant when he or she adjusts status to permanent resident (green card holder).
In any case, its very unusual for the government to enforce their rights under Form I-134 or even have the need to do so. This isn’t to say that you should disregard your responsibility to support the non-immigrant visitor if necessary. If you’ve signed Form I-134, you have a moral obligation as well to help that person.
RECOMMENDED: Adjustment of Status Through a K-1 Visa Entry