The journey towards obtaining a green card in the United States is a significant milestone for individuals seeking to establish a new life in the country.
One crucial aspect of the process is the “Affidavit of Support.”
This legal document plays a pivotal role in demonstrating an applicant’s financial stability and ensuring they won’t become a public burden and rely on the U.S. government for financial assistance if allowed to become a green card holder.
In this blog post, I’ll delve into the details of the Affidavit of Support, its importance, the responsibilities it entails, and how it contributes to the immigration process.
What is an Affidavit of Support?
An Affidavit of Support is a legally binding document that affirms the financial responsibility of a sponsor for an intending immigrant.
It is a legal and financial contract between the sponsor of a family-based visa petition and the U.S. government.
The Affidavit of Support assures the U.S. government that the sponsored individual will have the necessary financial support to prevent them from relying on public assistance programs.
Importance of the Affidavit of Support
The Affidavit of Support demonstrates that the intending immigrant will not be a burden on the U.S. government by relying on public benefits.
Sponsors signing the affidavit commit to providing financial support to the sponsored immigrant until the sponsored individual becomes a U.S. citizen, works for 40 quarters (approximately 10 years), or the sponsor’s death.
For family-based and some employment-based green card applications, submitting a valid Affidavit of Support is mandatory.
Responsibilities of the Sponsor
When a sponsor signs an Affidavit of Support, they undertake several key responsibilities:
The sponsor is legally obligated to provide the sponsored immigrant with financial support to maintain an income of at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Repayment of Public Benefits
If the sponsored immigrant receives certain means-tested public benefits, the sponsor may be required to repay the government for those benefits.
The sponsor must keep the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed of any address changes and provide updated contact information.
The Affidavit of Support Process
Sponsors must meet certain eligibility criteria, including being a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident, and meeting income requirements based on their household size.
The sponsor completes Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and submits it along with supporting documentation, such as tax returns, pay stubs, and evidence of assets.
Interview and Approval
The USCIS reviews the affidavit and supporting documents. In some cases, an interview may be required to assess the credibility of the affidavit.
Bound by the Affidavit
Once the affidavit is accepted and the sponsored individual obtains a green card, the sponsor remains legally bound by the commitments made in the affidavit until occurrence of certain events, at which time the obligations end.
The Affidavit of Support serves as a critical element in the process of obtaining a green card in the U.S.
It underscores the importance of financial stability and ensures that sponsored immigrants have the means to support themselves upon arrival.
By signing this document, sponsors play a vital role in helping their loved ones or employees successfully transition to their new lives in the United States while upholding their legal responsibilities.
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