If you wish to sponsor a close family member, child, spouse or fiance who wants to move to the United States, you will likely have to file an affidavit of support. This affidavit is a legally-binding contract that basically says you are financially stable and will financially support the immigrant for a specified amount of time. If you're thinking about sponsoring an immigrant, following are a few things you need to know about an affidavit of support.
Proof of Income Is Required
While you don't have to be rich to qualify as a sponsor, you do have to prove that you can support another person. To qualify as a sponsor, you must have income that is equal to or greater than 125 percent of the poverty guidelines for your family size. If you are actively in the military, you may only have to prove that your income is 100 percent of the poverty guidelines. You can count most types of income, including that from employment, alimony, disability, child support, interest, welfare and retirement. If you meet these income requirements on your own, you will probably qualify as a sponsor.
There Are Other Ways to Meet Income Requirement
If you don't make enough money to meet the guidelines for the affidavit, you may count income earned by other people in your household. You can also ask people outside of your household to stand in as a joint sponsor. However, the joint sponsor must meet the income requirements. You cannot simply combine your income to come up with the total amount. If the immigrant has income that will continue, you can count this as well.
The Affidavit Has Long-Term Implications
As a sponsor, you are basically saying you will financially support the immigrant for a designated period of time, and the government will hold you to it. If you fail to support the immigrant, you may end up having to make support payments directly to them. Such payments may be large enough to bring the immigrant's income up to the poverty guidelines. If the immigrant ends up on public assistance, you may have to reimburse the government for benefits they receive. In most cases, you will be financially responsible for the immigrant until they become a citizen or they have earned 40 work quarter hours toward Social Security, which equals approximately 10 years of work.
You should never sign an affidavit of support without completely understanding the implications involved. Since it is a legal, enforceable contract, an affidavit may affect your own financial situation for years to come. For more information, talk to an immigration attorney.Share
29 July 2015
My son has been best friends with a little boy from up the street for about two years. When his family came to me and told me that they may be leaving because of immigration issues, my heart broke. Those two boys spend so much time together and I knew that my son and his friend would be scarred for life if they were separated like that. I told the family that I would do some digging and talk with an immigration attorney friend of mine and see what I could find out. This blog was created to help this family as well as any others going through immigration struggles.