Who Can Become a Financial Sponsor of an Intending US Immigrant?
A financial sponsor is needed by anyone looking to acquire a lawful permanent residence in the United States through a family based petition. When you file a petition for your relative to immigrate to the US, you are deemed to have accepted the responsibilities and agreed to sponsor your beneficiary by filing an Affidavit of Support form.
In some cases when a beneficiary is coming to the United States for a job offer by a relative or by a company in which a relative owns at least 5 percent of the shares of ownership, a financial sponsor is also required. Anyone will be denied entry to the US based on a family petition, which has been disapproved for lack of financial sponsors.
In ensuring that immigrants who have just been admitted to the United States will not rely on government aids and benefits such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, USCIS requires that a petitioner should file a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support when the time comes for a beneficiary to immigrate to the US.
What does the law require for you to become a financial sponsor?
- A sponsor must have an income level of at least 125 percent above the Federal poverty line.
- One hundred (100%) percent above the poverty level is required of a personnel who is in active duty in the US Armed Forces when sponsoring a wife, husband, and children.
- If you fall short of the minimum income requirement, you may include your assets for consideration. You can declare your checking or saving account, stocks, bonds, or any property in establishing your capability to support a relative.
The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for updating the Federal poverty levels every year.
If after considering your assets you still fail to meet the minimum qualification to become a financial sponsor, you will need someone as a co-sponsor. A joint sponsor may include:
- any members of the household if they would voluntarily sign a contract on a Form I-864A, known as an Affidavit of Support Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member
- another person who must file a separate form of Affidavit of Support provided that he or she must independently meet all the requirements of becoming an sponsor and must be willing to assume and share your responsibility toward the sponsored immigrant.
An income of a beneficiary can be considered and used if, after immigrating to the United States, the flow of income will remain available from the same source.
A sponsor in all cases must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident, and must be living in the US when he or she filed the Affidavit of Support form. As a sponsor, you should keep the USCIS informed of your current physical address until your responsibility is terminated. Should you change your address, you must notify the USCIS within 30 days after the date you move by filing a Form I-865, Sponsor’s Notice of Change of Address. Your financial accountability to the sponsored immigrant shall be terminated when the sponsored beneficiary becomes a US citizen, is credited with 40 quarters of work that is normally equivalent to 10 years, abandons his or her US residence, or dies.
If the sponsored immigrant is eventually forced to seek support for his or her basic needs from the Federal or State agency, you can be asked to reimburse the government agency through a legal proceeding that may be instituted against you.
To prevent any breach of an agreement from further happening, you need to consult an immigrations lawyer. You can also drop us a message using the form on the right.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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