Sponsoring a person’s immigration and residence within the United States is a significant responsibility, whether you are their employer or a family member who already resides in the U.S. legally. In both financial and practical terms, you are liable as a sponsor for everything the immigrant does, including state or federal benefits they receive.
Understanding the responsibilities and obligations of the sponsor in Bolingbrook is crucial before agreeing to take on this role. Prior to making any commitments, it could be a good idea to have a conversation with an experienced immigration attorney who could answer your questions about the process and make sure you know what will be required of you if you decide to become a sponsor.
As part of the process for obtaining an immigrant visa or adjusting residency status, petitioning immigrants must submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) that has been filled out and signed by their prospective sponsor. Along with identifying information, those applying to sponsor an immigrant must submit their most recent tax returns or other proof of income, as well as various additional documents related to residency and household members.
The purpose of this form is to affirm that once an immigration applicant enters the United States, they will not be dependent on the U.S. government to support them financially. Accordingly, a sponsor must be able to prove they can provide financial support for both the immigrant they are sponsoring and the rest of the household in excess of 1.25 times the poverty line set by federal guidelines. If a Bolingbrook sponsor cannot meet this requirement, they will not be allowed to sponsor the immigrant, and the application for residency will likely be denied.
While sponsors are not responsible for providing shelter to a sponsored immigrant, they are financially liable for that immigrant until they either leave the United States, pass away, attain U.S. citizenship, or earn credit for 40 quarters of work as defined by the government. This liability applies jointly and severally to all of a sponsor’s household members, meaning any of them could be held independently responsible for the sponsored immigrant.
A sponsor can not only be held liable for any debts an immigrant accrues, but also for any public benefits they receive. If a sponsored immigrant applies for and receives means-tested public benefits, the sponsor must pay back the full cost of the benefits the immigrant received to the government agency that provided them.
Failure to repay public benefits used by an immigrant or other similar debts can often result in legal action against the delinquent sponsor. The immense strain and costs that litigation can entail underscore the importance of fully understanding what sponsors are responsible for and obligated to do before signing off on an Affidavit of Support.
While sponsorship is often the only way for many immigrants to legally enter and reside in the United States, it is far from just a formality. A sponsor for an immigrant holds a great deal of liability and financial responsibility. Failing to live up to those obligations can have disastrous consequences for both the sponsor and the immigrant they are accountable for.
If you have any concerns regarding the responsibilities and obligations of a sponsor in Bolingbrook, you should not delay in speaking with an immigration lawyer about your unique situation. Call today to set up a meeting.