Sponsoring a person for immigration purposes comes with specific obligations and requirements. Many family members choose to serve as a sponsor for their loved ones. It is essential to understand your responsibilities and the steps involved in this process before committing to sponsoring another individual. If you have questions concerning the immigration process, speak to a lawyer about sponsoring an immigrant in Marietta. You will want to make sure you do everything correctly, which is where a bilingual immigration attorney can be of service.
Who Can Sponsor an Immigrant?
Only certain individuals can serve as a sponsor for an immigrant. To meet the minimum requirements, a prospective sponsor must:
- Be at a minimum 18 years old
- A citizen, national, or a legal permanent resident of the United States
- Currently live in the United States or a United States territory
There are also financial requirements related to sponsoring an individual. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not want sponsors to support immigration from individuals who will be expected to require public financial support. If a sponsor does not have the requisite assets and income, or lives below poverty guidelines, they will need to identify other cosponsors who can sign on to support the immigration application.
In some circumstances, a sponsor may add the potential immigrant’s income to their own in order to increase their finances to meet the required amount. Only individuals whose income will remain steady at the point of their immigration can add their income to their sponsors for these purposes. This process can be tricky to navigate, but speaking to a legal professional in Marietta about sponsoring an immigrant might provide valuable insight and guidance.
Filing an Affidavit of Support
Sponsors must file an affidavit of support as a part of their sponsorship. This affidavit should illustrate that the proposed immigrant will not require public services or benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, supplemental Social Security income, or other related services.
Any immigrant applying for permanent residency through a family member will need that sponsor to file an affidavit of support. These affidavits also may apply when an individual is immigrating to work for a relative’s business or a business in which their relative owns at least a five percent stake.
The sponsor does not need to file the affidavit at the same time as they submit their form I-130 for an alien relative. The affidavit becomes due when the individual makes their way to the front of the immigration line.
Ending Financial Obligations for Supporting an Immigrant
When a person sponsors an immigrant, that obligation to support them will not last forever. Once the immigrant works for 40 quarters, which usually means ten years, the sponsorship ends.
Sponsors no longer have a responsibility once an individual becomes a citizen or permanently leaves the United States. Until that point in time, sponsors face severe consequences if they fail to support the person they volunteered to help financially.
If the immigrant files for benefits such as welfare or Medicaid, the government may request that the sponsor reimburse those programs. Sponsors who do not comply with their responsibilities or who fail to keep the USCIS up-to-date on their address can also face fines. Anyone looking to sponsor an individual for immigration purposes should speak to a Marietta attorney about all that is expected of them.
Consult with an Attorney About Sponsoring an Immigrant in Marietta
Sponsoring an immigrant is a significant responsibility and many families are happy to take on such obligations for their loved ones.
Before you agree to serve as a sponsor, you should ensure that you meet all legal requirements. Consider discussing sponsoring an immigrant in Marietta with an experienced lawyer who could provide you with valuable information about the process and your role.