Many people around the world wish to enter the United States lawfully to start a new life. Under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a person can sponsor an individual for a family-based Green Card, which is also referred to as U.S. lawful permanent residence. In the majority of these most cases, an Affidavit of Support for that person must be filed using USCIS Form I-864. Sponsoring a friend or loved one to come to the United States is a serious responsibility that must not be taken lightly. It is important to understand the legal ramifications of this immigration undertaking.
Who Can Be a Sponsor?
Any person wishing to be a financial sponsor for an immigrant must meet several qualifications to be approved for this role. Each sponsor must be all of the following:
- A U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
- Reside in the United States or a U.S. territory or possession
Affidavit of Support
U.S. immigration law requires an immigrant’s sponsor to sign an Affidavit of Support according to the Immigration and Nationality Act, which pledges financial support for the sponsored immigrant. Upon signing and submitting this official document or a “Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member,” the sponsor agrees to use his or her financial resources to support the designated immigrant. This also includes reimbursement for the cost of any public benefits that the sponsored person receives while the obligation is in effect....