As part of the process to sponsor a fiancé or partner to move to the United States to become a lawful permanent resident (get their green card), the partner or spouse who is a U.S. citizen is required to complete USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support “to show they have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support.”
Under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the I-864 is a legal contract between the sponsor and the U.S. Government. By signing the I-864, the sponsor agrees to use their financial resources to accept financial responsibility for the green card applicant coming to the United States.
The U.S. government has the right to enforce Form I-864. Suppose a green card holder gets divorced or separated and is no longer supported by their sponsor. In that case, the divorce decree or separation agreement should provide that the spouse who is no longer married to or partnered with a U.S. citizen will have adequate means of support. This can include employment authorization and/or the ability to receive public benefits. Under the legally binding I-864, the sponsor should remain liable for the financial support of the permanent resident until they obtain U.S. citizenship or can demonstrate that they have a means to adequately support themselves without relying on their sponsor’s financial resources. State Courts including family law court have the authority to enforce the I-864.
If Form I-864 is enforced, then USCIS may place liens against the sponsor’s real and personal property. This means that the sponsor will be responsible for all of the debts incurred by their sponsored permanent resident, even after they become a U.S. citizen or can demonstrate that they have the means to support themselves without relying on their former sponsor’s financial resources. In extreme cases, USCIS could even seek to recover the value of any public benefits the sponsored permanent resident receives.
Sponsors and their sponsored permanent residents must understand all of the potential consequences of entering into a Form I-864 agreement. This way they can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for them. Contact us if you are getting divorced or separated and have concerns about your green card or support and I-864. We are here to help you make the best decision for your unique situation.
At Godoy Law Office, we provide comprehensive immigration legal services to individuals looking to sponsor a permanent resident in the U.S. with a Form I-864. We have an experienced team of attorneys and paralegals who understand the complexities of this green card and family-based immigration. And we are committed to helping our clients navigate the process as smoothly as possible. You need understand all of the potential implications for both sponsors and their sponsored permanent residents. This way you can make an informed decision about whether or not entering into an I-864 is right for you.
We can also help with the preparation and filing of Form I-864. And we can assist with any related issues that may arise throughout the process. Our attorneys are available to answer any of your questions and discuss all of your options so that you can make the best decision for your situation. Our expertise and commitment to client service make us the ideal partner for this important process. We look forward to working with you. Thank you for considering Godoy Law Office as your immigration law firm!
A skilled immigration attorney can put their experience to work for you to achieve your American Dream. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322.