If you are a US citizen or a permanent resident of the United States and if you wish to sponsor your family member for lawful status in the United States, you will have to know about the sponsorship process. Generally, US citizens and Green Card holders, who file Form I-130 for their family members must file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support and this affidavit of support is a contract between the government of the United States and the sponsor. As a sponsor, you must meet few poverty guidelines and prove that you are capable of supporting yourself and the beneficiary financially and this does not mean that only wealthy individuals can sponsor their relatives.
By signing Form I-864, you accept to sponsor the beneficiary financially. In order to make sure that the immigrants do not become a burden to the United States financially, US citizens and Green Card holders who sponsor their relatives must sign Form I-864 and prove that they will sponsor their relatives financially. If your documented income is insufficient, you can still sponsor your relatives if another member of your household, is willing to sponsor the relative. Hence, if your family member’s income when combined with yours meets the affidavit of support requirements, you and your family member can file Form I-864A(contract between you and your family member) along with Form I-864, and sponsor your relative. Remember that, in order to sponsor a relative, you and the joint sponsor, must both be US citizens or Green Card holders and above age 18.
You may download Form I-864 and Form I-864A(if needed) and complete it on your computer. You need to go through the form instructions and fill out the required forms. You may then print the forms and attach the forms to the bar code sheet and mail the package to the national visa center. Form I-864 must be signed by you and Form I-864A by the co-sponsor. However, you will have to check the current poverty guidelines to make sure that you meet the income requirements. As a Green Card holder or a US citizen, your income must be more than 125% of the US poverty level. Your responsibility as a sponsor will begin as soon as the beneficiary enters into the United States with an immigrant visa and becomes a permanent resident or after the beneficiary adjusts his status to lawful permanent resident status. Your responsibility will end, if the beneficiary becomes a US citizen, if the beneficiary loses or gives up his lawful permanent resident status or if the beneficiary dies.