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Understanding the Role of a Joint Sponsor in Immigration

Apr 5, 2024 | adjustment of status, Green card, immigration

Immigrating to the United States can be a complex process, especially when it comes to meeting financial requirements. For some visa categories, such as family-based immigration, petitioners (the primary sponsor) must demonstrate the ability to financially support the intending immigrant/relative. In cases where the primary sponsor (the petitioner) does not meet the income requirements, a joint sponsor can step in to help. In this article, I will explore the role of a joint sponsor in immigration and what it entails.

What is a Joint Sponsor?

A joint sponsor is a person who, jointly with the petitioner, agrees to financially support an immigrant in the United States. Joint sponsors are typically required when the primary sponsor (the petitioner) does not meet the income requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The joint sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and meet certain financial criteria.

Financial Responsibilities of a Joint Sponsor

When a joint sponsor agrees to provide financial support, they are essentially taking on the same responsibilities as the primary sponsor (the petitioner). This includes providing financial support to the immigrant at a level that is at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for their household size. The joint sponsor must also submit a Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) along with supporting financial documents to demonstrate their ability to support the immigrant.

Eligibility Criteria for a Joint Sponsor

To qualify as a joint sponsor, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  2. Be at least 18 years old
  3. Reside in the United States
  4. Have an income that is at least 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for their household size, and
  5. Be willing to financially support the immigrant

Responsibilities of a Joint Sponsor

As a joint sponsor, the individual is legally obligated to provide financial support to the immigrant. This includes:

  1. Ensuring that the immigrant has enough financial support to meet their basic needs
  2. Providing financial support until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, has worked 40 quarters in the United States, or departs the United States permanently, and
  3. Notifying the USCIS if they are no longer able to provide financial support

Conclusion

A joint sponsor plays a crucial role in helping immigrants meet the financial requirements for immigration to the United States. By agreeing to provide financial support, a joint sponsor helps ensure that the immigrant has the necessary means to establish themselves in the country. If you are considering becoming a joint sponsor, it is important to understand the responsibilities involved and to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the USCIS.

Ruchi Thaker