Withdrawing a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support for an Alien Relative
A U.S. citizen or green card holder who files a petition to help a family member come to the U.S. may change their mind during the process and decide to stop pursuing their petition. They may lose their job and no longer feel comfortable supporting the foreign national family member, as required by the Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. Or their relationship with the foreign national may deteriorate, such that they would no longer benefit from their presence in the U.S.
If you have not yet received approval from USCIS for your Form I-130, you can easily withdraw the petition. This will involve writing the USCIS office that is reviewing your Form I-130, which may not be the same office to which you sent the petition. Together with your request for withdrawal, you should provide your name and date of birth, the name and date of birth of the foreign national, and the identifying number for the petition that you will find on the receipt notice (Form I-797). You should not need to take any further steps. USCIS will send you a letter confirming the withdrawal. If you do not receive any confirmation, you can ask an immigration attorney to help you confirm that the petition has been withdrawn.
Withdrawal After Approval of Form I-130
You still may be able to withdraw your petition if USCIS has approved Form I-130. However, you will not be able to withdraw it if USCIS has already reviewed Form I-485, which is the adjustment of status application for a foreign national. You also cannot withdraw the petition if the foreign national is already on their way to the U.S. after receiving their immigrant visa. If neither of these exceptions applies, you can follow the same steps as though USCIS had not yet approved Form I-130 to withdraw your petition.
If USCIS has approved the foreign national’s green card already, you probably will not be able to withdraw the petition unless fraud was involved. If you allege that fraud occurred, you may face serious consequences. USCIS will investigate the case to determine whether you helped the foreign national commit immigration fraud. For example, they will want to know when you discovered the fraud and how soon you alerted USCIS to it. In some cases, U.S. citizens and green card holders help foreign nationals commit immigration fraud for payment, which can subject them to criminal penalties. You should make sure to consult an immigration attorney before revealing apparent fraud to USCIS.
Disclosing the Basis for Withdrawal
Many U.S. sponsors will feel reluctant to tell USCIS why they decided to withdraw their petition. They may have engaged in some questionable conduct, which could result in fines and other criminal penalties. Also, revealing their grounds for withdrawal might cause USCIS to view any future petitions that they file suspiciously. Not every reason for withdrawal is dubious, though. Telling USCIS that you are canceling your petition because you can no longer meet the Form I-864 support requirement or because your relationship with the foreign national has deteriorated should not adversely affect any future petitions that you file for foreign family members.