Under immigration laws, an affidavit of support may be required in certain situations, like a public charge designation. The person that submits the affidavit is called a sponsor.
A sponsor must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident of at least 18 years of age.
An affidavit of support is a legal document stating that the sponsor (the person signing Form I-864) will be financially responsible for another. The petitioning party may be required to sign an affidavit of support if they will be acting as the immigrant’s financial sponsor.
Usually, this involves a person who is petitioning their relative for United States citizenship or permanent residency.
Affidavits of support are legally enforceable. The person signing the affidavit (Form I-864) must agree that their statements and information in the affidavit are true.
When Is an Affidavit of Support Needed?
An affidavit of support is required and must be signed by the petitioning party for the following visa categories:
- Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (i.e. parents, spouses, children who are unmarried and under the of 21)
- Other family-based visas (categories 1st through 4th preference)
- Certain employment-based immigration categories (cases where the person filing the visa petition was a relative, or where a relative had a significant interest in the employing entity that filed a petition)
- When a fiancé changes their residency status to permanent resident.
Note that there may be various exceptions and rules in addition to these basic requirements for affidavits of support.
What Should Be Included in an Affidavit of Support?
Affidavits of support should show that the sponsor is financially capable of supporting the foreign applicant. Sponsors (and joint-sponsors) must show that their household income level is greater than or equal to 125% of the U.S. poverty level for that size of household.
Again, there may be various exceptions and alternative methods for proving financial capability. This may involve an analysis of the sponsor’s other assets and belongings.
When Does the Sponsor’s Obligation Begin?
The sponsor’s obligations begin when the sponsored immigrant obtains lawful permanent resident status. This means a sponsor can withdraw the affidavit anytime before the sponsored immigrant is granted permanent resident status.
When Does the Sponsor’s Obligations End?
The sponsor’s obligations end when the sponsored immigrant:
- Becomes a U.S. citizen
- Ceases to be a lawful permanent resident and has left the United States
- Dies, or the sponsor is deceased
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Affidavit of Support?
Immigration requirements can be challenging and may require the assistance of a legal professional. You may need to hire an experienced immigration lawyer if you or a loved one of yours needs help with any immigration requirements or proceedings.