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If you intend to sponsor an immigrant in Bolingbrook, it is essential to understand exactly what that commitment entails. You will legally have certain responsibilities, and these may continue for a considerable period of time.

A sponsor plays a critical role in the immigration process. In fact, the sponsor may have more duties and need to undertake more effort than the immigrant, particularly during the petition phase of the immigration process because the sponsor usually serves as petitioner. Sponsors may find it helpful to work with an experienced immigration attorney either in conjunction with the immigrant or as a separate representative to protect their interests.

Understanding Sponsorship

Most people seeking to immigrate to the United States need some connection to the country. Often this connection is based on family relationships or employment. The person providing this connection usually serves as a sponsor for that potential immigrant. An individual may serve a joint sponsor or substitute sponsor or may accept full responsibility on his or her own.

Sponsors accept responsibility for providing financial support for an immigrant until that person works for 40 quarters or becomes a U.S. citizen. If someone sponsors a spouse and the couple divorces, the obligations of the sponsor still remain.

Anyone in Bolingbrook who is sponsoring an immigrant needs to be prepared for a long-term commitment. If the immigrant receives public benefits based on financial need, the sponsor will be required to repay the cost of those benefits.

The Affidavit of Support

Form I-864 issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), known as the Affidavit of Support, is the contract the sponsor in Bolingbrook must sign to affirm acceptance of the responsibilities of sponsoring an immigrant. This form is based on the requirements of Section 213A of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, codified at 8 U.S.C. §1183a. According to USCIS, the person who signs the affidavit officially becomes a sponsor once the potential immigrant receives a green card as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

As part of the affidavit package, the sponsor needs to submit specific evidence demonstrating the ability to provide the required financial support. All sponsors need to supply federal income tax returns and proof of citizenship or LPR status. Depending on the situation, sponsors may also need to provide:

  • Supporting schedules C, D, E, or F that are part of the sponsor’s most recent tax return
  • Proof of active military status
  • Documentation of assets
  • Proof of continuation of the immigrant’s employment
  • Proof of residency of household members
  • Guardianship documentation

Any documents submitted in a foreign language must include a certified full translation.

Income Requirements

Individual sponsors, joint sponsors, and substitute sponsors are all required to meet specified income requirements. Based on the size of the sponsor’s household, the sponsor must demonstrate that the household income equals at least 125 percent of the U.S. poverty level. The household includes the sponsor, the sponsor’s dependents, any relatives living with the sponsor, and the immigrant being sponsored.

Income requirements are relaxed when the sponsor is on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and the immigrant is the sponsor’s child or spouse. If a sponsor is not able to meet the income requirements, that sponsor may establish eligibility with assets, including the assets of a relative being sponsored.

Assistance Sponsoring an Immigrant in Bolingbrook

The sponsorship process for many in Bolingbrook begins with filing a petition for immigration with USCIS. It is vital to ensure that paperwork is completed correctly and comprehensively to avoid rejection or delays in processing the petition.

Only after the petition is approved and considered “current” under government standards can the potential immigrant begin the visa application process. When the sponsor is also the petitioner, that individual’s involvement may continue for many years before official sponsorship duties even start. Those with questions or needing assistance in the process of sponsoring an immigrant in Bolingbrook are advised to consult an immigration lawyer.

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