What is an affidavit of support?
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is a contract an individual signs agreeing to use their financial resources to support the intending immigrant named on the affidavit. The individual who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor once the intending immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident.
Who can be a sponsor and sign the affidavit of support?
Generally, the sponsor is usually the petitioner who filed an immigrant petition on behalf of the intending immigrant. If you filed an immigrant visa petition for your relative, you must be the sponsor. Other requirements include:
You must also be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
You must have a domicile in the United States or a territory or possession of the United States. Usually, this requirement means you must actually live in the United States, or a territory or possession, in order to be a sponsor. If you live abroad, you may still be eligible to be a sponsor if you can show that your residence abroad is temporary, and that you still have your domicile in the United States.
What are the income requirements for a sponsor?
You also must meet certain income requirements in order to be a sponsor. You must show that your household income is equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size. (Your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring.) If you, the sponsor, are on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States, and the immigrant you are sponsoring is your spouse or child, your income only needs to equal 100% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size.
What if I don’t earn enough money to meet the income requirements for a sponsor?
If you are not able to meet the income requirements for a sponsor, you may ask another individual to become a joint sponsor. A joint sponsor is someone who is willing to accept legal responsibility for supporting your family member with you. A joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements as you, except the joint sponsor does not need to be related to the immigrant. The joint sponsor (or the joint sponsor and his or her household) must reach the 125% income requirement alone. You as the principal sponsor cannot combine your income with that of a joint sponsor to meet the income requirement.
What are the obligations of an immigrant sponsor?
When you sign the affidavit of support, you accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant(s), generally until they become U.S. citizens or are credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years). Your obligation as a sponsor also ends if you or the individual sponsored dies or if the individual sponsored ceases to be a lawful permanent resident and departs the United States. However, divorce does not end the sponsorship obligation. If an immigrant you sponsored receives any means-tested public benefits, you are responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them.
If you are applying for a green card on behalf of your relative and have questions about the affidavit of support requirement, please contact us. We are here to help! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
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