If you are acting as a sponsor to a family member who is preparing to immigrate to the United States, it is crucial to understand your rights and duties in this capacity. There are several key responsibilities and obligations of a sponsor in Wheaton. An immigration attorney could help you determine whether you qualify to serve as a sponsor and walk you through filling out and submitting the necessary forms.
To sponsor a relative for their green card, an individual must meet certain eligibility criteria. When a green card holder or citizen agrees to sponsor a family member for an immigrant visa, they need to show that their economic situation qualifies them to act as their family member’s financial sponsor. An individual meets the economic criteria for sponsorship if their wages meet or surpass the federal poverty line by 125%.
In situations where the individual’s wages do not meet the economic criteria, other assets may be taken into account to determine whether they can act as a financial sponsor. It may also be possible for the individual to join forces with someone else who acts with them as the immigrating party’s financial sponsor.
There are other eligibility criteria to serve as a sponsor besides the individual’s financial circumstances. If someone in Wheaton wishes to take on the obligations and responsibilities to sponsor a family member’s immigrant visa, they must also reside in the United States and be a legal adult.
One crucial step in becoming a sponsor is filing Form I-864, also known as an Affidavit of Support. The sponsor will usually file this form shortly before the immigrating party has their interview at the embassy or consulate in their country of origin.
Not only is an affidavit of support binding, but it outlines the obligations of a Wheaton sponsor to financially subsidize the immigrating party as needed until they become a citizen or accumulate a certain number of work credits. The intent behind signing an affidavit of support is to alleviate any financial burden that would otherwise be placed on the government should the immigrating party require financial assistance.
Once someone takes on a Wheaton sponsor’s duties, this duty will only terminate in one of a few specific circumstances. If the sponsor defaults on their commitment to providing financial assistance to the immigrating party who instead receives some form of government assistance, the sponsor must reimburse that government entity for the support provided.
If the immigrating party naturalizes as a U.S. citizen, this would effectively conclude the sponsor’s duty of support. Conversely, if the family member relocates out of the country and yields their green card status or passes away, this terminates the sponsor’s duties. The final way a sponsor’s duty may conclude is if the family member is employed in the U.S. and accumulates 40 or more quarters of work.
Assuming the responsibilities and obligations of the sponsor in Wheaton is not a decision that should be approached without careful consideration. It is important to understand that these obligations will generally continue for an extended period of time. Failure to meet your support responsibilities as a sponsor could subject you to legal action from the government or even the person you sponsor.
If you would like to learn more about sponsoring a relative for a green card, contact our office and speak with a legal team member about your case.