Most immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency status in the United States must have a financial sponsor, especially if they base their application on the existence of an immediate relative who is a U.S.citizen. Once the financial sponsor files the appropriate sponsorship paperwork with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the financial sponsor is expected to provide support for the immigrant, and the duty to provide support can be terminated only under very limited circumstances.
Applicants for immigration to the U. S. are often required to have a financial sponsor. A spouse, parent, child, or in some cases an employer or fiance may sponsor an individual seeking to gain permanent residence in the U.S. The purpose of the financial sponsor provision in the immigration act is to ensure that a person new to this country will not become a burden on the government's financial resources by seeking public assistance.
To become a financial sponsor for an immigration applicant, an individual must provide proof that he can financially support the applicant by completing Form I-864, the Affidavit of Support, and submitting it with any required documentation. The affidavit is a legally binding contract between the sponsor and the United States government. Because of the seriousness of the agreement between the sponsor and the government, this agreement is not easily broken. The sponsor is legally responsible to the immigrant and the U.S. for the immigrant's financial support. The immigrant or the U.S. government may sue the sponsor, if the sponsor fails to live up to his responsibility.
Termination of Support
The affidavit is a contract that may be enforced against the sponsor until the sponsor's responsibility ends. The responsibility to provide financial support only ends when the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, dies, leaves the United States, or works for at least 40 quarters in the United States. If the immigrant receives public assistance benefits before any of the listed events takes place, he or the government may sue the sponsor for reimbursement of the benefits provided. If a sponsor attempts to avoid the financial responsibility by moving and fails to provide an address to the Citizenship and Immigration Service within 30 days, he faces a fine of up to $5,000, as of 2013. A sponsor for a spouse should keep in mind that not even a divorce will terminate the duty to provide financial support.
Once the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service has approved the application for citizenship, the sponsor cannot revoke the affidavit, but the sponsor can withdraw the application before the immigrant arrives on U.S. soil or before the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service has approved the application for permanent residency. Only an immediate family member of the applicant can withdraw the petition for family-sponsored petitions and only if the family member made the request in writing and filed it with an officer of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service. This agency has the authority to grant or deny petitions. This does not apply to Amerasian petitions.
References & Resources
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service: How Do I Financially Sponsor Someone Who Wants to Immigrate?
- Cornell University Law School: Section 8 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 205 - Revocation of Approval of Petitions
- National Immigration Law Center: Analysis of Final Affidavit-of-Support Rule and Forms
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