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.
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:
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.
The sponsor’s responsibility lasts until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, dies, earns approximately 10 years’ worth of work credited toward Social Security, or permanently leaves the United States.
The Affidavit of Support is considered a legal contract, which means it can be enforced. This means that the U.S. government or the sponsored alien can initiate legal proceedings against the sponsor in court if he or she fails to support the immigrant adequately. Under this law, the sponsor has more obligations than the immigrant. For example, the immigrant may leave his or her job and then file a lawsuit against the sponsor for financial support.
The government can potentially collect enough monetary funds to repay any public agencies that contributed benefits to the immigrant. Alternately, the immigrant can receive enough funds to increase his or her income up to 25 percent over the amount as stated in the U.S. federal government’s Poverty Guidelines. If a sponsor tries to get out of their financial obligation, he or she can face fines up to $5,000.
Sponsoring a beloved family member to come to the United States is a very admirable act. However, it carries a significant responsibility, so it is imperative you understand the legal requirements involved if you are considering such an endeavor. At Mevorah Law Offices LLC, our accomplished Illinois immigration attorneys have the skill and knowledge of the laws pertaining to all aspects of immigration. We will work hard to verify all the legal stipulations are met for a successful outcome. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-932-9100.
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