You may be eligible to assist with supporting a family member by filing an affidavit of support. The individual who signs a supporting paperwork becomes a sponsor after the applying immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident. The sponsor of the affidavit of support is often the filing party who initiated an immigrant petition on behalf of that immigrant.
The Affidavit of Support
For those visitors who wish to sponsor a family member for a family based green card, you must be aware of your responsibilities to sign an affidavit of support. This is known as Form I-864 which essentially states that you are willing to become financially responsible for the immigrant. Therefore, this is a major responsibility that must be given a great deal of thought. In order to sponsor someone you must be at least 18 years of age, a US national, citizen or permanent resident and live in the US or a US territory.
Sponsoring someone for a green card can be complicated and you should speak with an experienced attorney to discuss how to sponsor someone for a green card.
What Are the Sponsor’s Obligations?
By becoming a sponsor, you agree to accept legal responsibility to financially support the sponsoring immigrant until they become a US citizen. This means that you will make sure that the sponsored immigrant always has access to an income that is equal to at least 125% of the poverty level. In the event that you do not provide adequate support to the immigrant, the government or that sponsored immigrant can take you to court.
How Long Do the Sponsor’s Responsibilities Last?
A sponsor’s responsibility to maintain financial support lasts until the immigrant becomes a US citizen, permanently leaves the United States, dies or has earned 40 work quarters.
Your obligation under a Form I-864 ends if you pass away, which means that the decedent’s estate is not responsible for taking over the person’s financial concerns after you pass.
However, the estate could be held accountable for payments that you owed prior to passing away. Divorce does not end the sponsorship obligation. Filing for bankruptcy also does not end the affidavit of support responsibilities.
What Are the Sponsor’s Income Requirements?
Your household income must already be equal to a higher than 125% of the US poverty level for your household size. This is in order to meet the income requirement to become a sponsor. Your assets and income have to be considered accessible to the applying immigrant in determining whether or not that person is can meet certain means test public benefits. In the event that the immigrant receives any means test public benefits, the sponsor could be held responsible for repaying the cost of these benefits to the agency that provided them.
Steps to Becoming a Sponsor
Becoming a sponsor is not the right choice for everyone. Make sure that you understand the responsibilities involved and have the advice of a lawyer to prepare all the appropriate paperwork.
Check to See if You Qualify Financially
Make sure that you already have an income more than 125% of the poverty level. This is necessary to be able to sponsor a family member for a green card. If you do not have ample financial support of your own, your application to sponsor can be denied.
Find Supplemental Sources of Income If You Fall Short
If you discover that your current financial situation does not meet the grounds for sponsoring someone for a green card, consider other opportunities to improve your income. Picking up an additional job or source of financial support could strengthen your case and show your commitment to take financial responsibility of this other person.
You will need financial documents as evidence to prove you can support the family member in question. This includes copies of your federal income tax return, each W-9 and 1099 related to your income, dividend or interest income details, or welfare. You should also include information about your current assets if you intend to qualify that way.
Complete Form I-864
It is recommended that you have the help of a lawyer to complete Form I-864. Making mistakes could delay the processing of your paperwork. Ensure that you have all your financial documentation and the form complete before sending it out.
Submit Form I-864
Where the affidavit of support is submitted depends on whether the person you’re supporting is getting an immigrant visa or requesting adjustment of status. For an immigrant visa, send the original to the National Visa Center while keeping a copy for your own records.
Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!
Attorney Eric Price has extensive experience helping clients with immigration concerns. When you need detail-oriented support in filling out your paperwork or in learning how to sponsor an immigration, schedule a consultation today to learn more. Contact LA’s best immigration lawyer for further information.