For an immigrant to come to the U.S. on a fiancé(e) or family-based visa, they need an affidavit of support from a sponsor who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Typically, the sponsor role is fulfilled by the person who files the petition for immigration on behalf of their relative or fiancé(e). If you intend to serve as a sponsor, it is crucial that you understand your responsibilities and obligations and what may happen if you do not fulfill them.
Commitments Made in an Affidavit of Support
When you sign an affidavit of support for another person’s immigration, the primary commitment you make is to take financial responsibility for supporting that person once they become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S. After achieving LPR status, immigrants are legally permitted to work in the U.S., so they are often able to support themselves at least partially. However, if they cannot do so, you are responsible for providing for their financial needs.
It may come as a surprise that you will still be ultimately responsible for the person you sponsor even if they qualify for means-tested public benefits like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Though the government may provide these benefits upfront, you will be expected to repay them in full. You will also remain responsible for a spouse whom you sponsor even if your marriage ends in divorce....