Country of Domicile

Your Country of Domicile and Nationality

The term ‘Country of Domicile’ refers to the status of your permanent home being in a particular country. In other words, it means that it is the place where you intend to return at some point or the other if you are residing somewhere else. Your country of domicile may change if you acquire another domicile in a different country. 

It is important for you to know about your country of domicile because you are subject to the laws of your domiciliary country and are liable to pay your taxes or get benefits from the government. It is even helpful when it comes to planning your estates.

Now, the domicile can be categorized into three parts depending on its nature:

  • Domicile of origin: An individual acquires from the parents.
  • The Domicile of Choice: It is when an individual chooses to reside in a country and make it the permanent home with all the intentions of being there for an indefinite period of time. 
  • Domicile of dependency: An individual acquires this status if he or she is a minor and holds this if the parents change their domicile. Once this person reaches 18 years, he or she can hold a domicile of choice and change the country of domicile if wish be.

Not to be confused with…

Since the country of domicile field appears in your i-864, you may confuse it with ‘country of issue’, ‘Nationality’ and ‘Residence’. While ‘country of issue’ refers to the country from where your passport is issued and it doesn’t have to be your domicile, ‘residency’ refers to the country where you live and it can be a temporary one as well. Your residency is where you can work or start a business, live, study and travel from and to another country. ‘Nationality’ is the country you are born in or you belong to; your passport can be issued from this country. 

The relevance of the term ‘Country of Domicile’ with respect to I-864 form:

Issued by the USCIS, I-864 is the Affidavit of Support form under section 213A which needs to be filled and completed by the individual or the family member who takes the responsibility of sponsoring an immigrant moving to the United States and that the US Government is free from providing any kind of financial support. It means that if there is any situation where the immigrant is not able to support himself or herself financially, the sponsor will be able to take responsibility for this person. 

To qualify as a sponsor and to be able to fill the I-864, you must be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident and your country of domicile must be the United States. 

A Few Guidelines

General guidelines to follow when filling the I-864 forms when it comes to the “country of domicile” field:

There are few guidelines the sponsor needs to follow in order to meet the sponsorship requirements:

  • The sponsor must be living and working in the United States and the US is the country of domicile. He can move to different states within the US.
  • If the sponsor is working in a different country but you have a permanent home and intend to come back to the United States in which case the US is your country of domicile.
  • In case the sponsor is currently residing outside the United States but intends to restore their domicile back on US soil before the visa applicant’s admission or adjustment of status into the United State, you are allowed to list a US domicile.
  • If the sponsor is temporarily working in a foreign country outside the US, they can still claim the US to be their country of domicile with substantial proof showcasing that their job is temporary and they intend to return back to the United States.

In some cases, even if the sponsor is ‘temporarily employed’ outside the US, because of the nature of their employment, they are by default considered domiciled in the United States. Here are some of those situations where you will be under these Considerations:

  • If you are employed with the US Government like the US Defence, Embassy, or other American companies. 
  • Upon being associated with any religious denomination or with their legitimate organization or institution in the United States. 
  • If you are working for an American company or its subsidiary which contributes to the foreign trade and commercial developments with the United States.
  • A US-based research institution affiliated with the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Poverty guidelines to meet the eligibility criteria to be a sponsor:

In order to file an I-864 form, you need to have the minimum income as specified under the Federal income guidelines. If you need more details about the poverty guidelines please visit the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Different documents you need to prove Domicile:

The various documents that you need as evidence to prove your domicile in the United States are:

  • Income tax return documents
  • Documents to show your active bank accounts and other financial investments
  • Documents related to your house maintenance, home lease or your homeownership.
  • Your permanent mailing address proof.
  • Your payslips from your current and past employer.
  • Voter registration and voting records.
  • Proof of having a Social Security Number.
  • Other proof to show that you are studying abroad and you have the authorization on a temporary stay from the government of the country you’re in.

What are the various cases the US government accepts the application of the I-864 affidavit of support if the sponsor is trying to re-establish domicile?

If you are living abroad and are trying to re-establish domicile, here are few things that you can do for the US government to accept your I-864 petition: 

  1. Transfer funds to the US bank and other financial institutions.
  2. Maintain balance in your United States bank accounts.
  3. Buy a house in the US.
  4. Apply for the Social Security Number (SSN).
  5. Invest in a business in the United States.
  6. If you have children, enroll in the schools in the US.
  7. Plan to move back to the US and look for a job in the US.
  8. If you have any other relation or ties to the US, provide sufficient proof of that.
  9. Pay the federal taxes on time and keep the documents for your record.
  10. Register for your vote and cast your vote in the elections.

For those of you who do not reside in the US and are trying to reestablish domicile in the US, to sponsor a visa applicant, proving it can be challenging. However, if you are able to give substantial evidence in the form of proper documents your petition might be accepted and you can move forward with the process.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Who fills the I-864 affidavit of support form?

The I-864 affidavit of support form is filled by the sponsor who will take the responsibility of the immigrant or the visa applicant who intends to move to the United States.

Is there a fee involved in filing up the I-864 form?

Yes, there is a processing fee that you need to pay in most cases. The fee is $120 USD. 

What happens if the petition or the person intending to sponsor does not have enough income to meet the poverty guidelines?

If the sponsor does not have enough income, there are two things that can be done: 
1) Use a family member’s income whose income meets the poverty guidelines. The family member subjected to this has to fill up the I-864A and submit proof of their income and their legal status in the US.
2) Look for a ‘joint sponsor’ who is willing to support the immigrant financially when needed. The joint sponsor also has to provide proof of income, submit the affidavit of support form as well as a proof of their domicile in the United States.

Who signs the affidavit of support form?

The person or the sponsor who is responsible for supporting the immigrant financially will sign the I-864 form. 

Leave a Comment