You are not required to have a credit report to prepare and file Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, but you do need to respond with evidence. When preparing Form I-944, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does request that the green card applicant provide a credit score and credit report. USCIS will use this information as a factor in determining your likelihood to become a public charge at any point in the future. If you do not have any credit history in the United States, you’ll need to show that you have none.
RECOMMENDED: Public Charge Rule Explained
Many new immigrants do not have any U.S. credit history or credit score. This is normal and won’t disqualify you a green card. However, if you do have a credit history, understand how it will affect your application to adjust status.
Determine if You Have a Credit Report
Even if you are confident that you have no credit history in the United States, start the process by requesting a free credit report. Under U.S. law, you are entitled to a free credit report once a year from each one of the three credit reporting agencies. You are only required to provide one credit report from any of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
If you discover that you do have a credit report, print it. You will need to submit it with your Form I-944.
RECOMMENDED: Credit-Building Guide for Immigrants
Evidence You Do Not Have a U.S. Credit Report
Fortunately, the USCIS Policy Manual states “an officer must not consider the fact that an applicant does not have an established credit history as a negative factor in reviewing the totality of the circumstances.”
If you do not have a credit report, provide documentation that demonstrates that you do not have a credit report or score with a credit bureau. If you have a Social Security Number, you’ll be able to generate a report with one of the credit reporting agencies. The report will indicate that there is no credit history for the provided Social Security Number.
On the other hand, you won’t even be able to request a credit report if you do not have a Social Security Number. You may be able to contact the credit agency to request a letter that states you have no credit history. If the agency will not provide a letter, you may provide a sworn statement that declares you do not have a credit history in the United States.
In the absence of evidence from one of the three nationwide credit agencies to indicate that you do not have a U.S. credit report or score, you may provide a personal statement of the facts. It is a very simple letter that swears to the truth of the statement.
CitizenPath has a downloadable sample sworn statement that you can use as an example for creating your own letter. The I-944 applicant is the person who must meet write the sworn statement. Therefore, the applicant should write the statement in his or her own words. It’s not necessary to sign in front of a notary or obtain a notarized signature.