What is an Affidavit of Support in Immigration Cases?

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes the importance of family ties. Therefore, they offer U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents at least 21 years of age the opportunity to sponsor their family members for immigration. However, they must prove that they have adequate means of financial support to sponsor their relatives. They must also demonstrate that foreign citizens will not rely on the U.S. government for financial support once they arrive. This is achieved through an Affidavit of Support. Please continue reading to learn the purpose behind this contract and how an adept Middlesex County, New Jersey, Family Immigration Lawyer can help you avoid the common pitfalls in the immigration process. 

What is the purpose of the affidavit of support for immigration?

An Affidavit of Support, or Form I-864, is a document signed by an individual who accepts financial responsibility for a family member seeking lawful permanent residence. Essentially, Form I-864 is completed by an individual who assumes the role of a “financial sponsor” for their family member seeking a green card. It’s crucial to understand the income requirements for a financial sponsor. The petitioner must have an annual income of at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The more people being supported in your household, the higher your income must be to meet the financial sponsor requirements.

The financial sponsor can use assets, not just income, to meet the financial sponsor’s requirements. They can use cash, stocks, bonds, and property to demonstrate their financial means. It’s also possible for the beneficiary to use their income to meet the financial requirements, but only as long as this income will continue from the same source after the green card has been acquired. In some cases, if the petitioner’s income is insufficient, a joint sponsor can also complete Form I-864 on the beneficiary’s behalf.

How long is it legally enforceable?

An Affidavit of Support is a contract between the financial sponsor and the U.S. government. Government agencies can force the petitioner to repay any public benefits a beneficiary uses after obtaining their green card, such as Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI). The only time a financial sponsor’s obligations under the Affidavit of Support end is when the beneficiary dies, becomes a U.S. citizen, works for 40 quarters in the U.S., or permanently moves out of the U.S. Therefore, the financial sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the applicant becomes a U.S. citizen or can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work (typically ten years) under the Social Security Act.

If you’re considering becoming a financial sponsor, please don’t hesitate to contact a proficient lawyer from the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC, who can help you understand your obligations.


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