Sponsoring an Immigrant

A foreign national who seeks to immigrate to the U.S. based on family sponsorship must have a financial sponsor. This means, that the person sponsoring the foreign national for legal status in the U.S. also must sponsor that person financially. To sponsor a relative, green card holders and U.S. citizens must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the immigration agency, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While filing this petition, they must also agree to be the financial sponsor of the immigrant. In order to financially sponsor the immigrant, they must file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.

All foreign nationals immigrating to the U.S. through family sponsorship must have financial sponsors. Foreigners without financial sponsors will not be able to immigrate to the U.S. as their sponsorship will be incomplete. Affidavits filed by the sponsors will help the USCIS make sure that the new immigrants will not become public charges.

To financially sponsor an immigrant, the sponsoring U.S. citizen or green card holder should prove that his or her income level is above 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Military personnel sponsoring their husband, wife, or children need to show that their income level is at or above 100 percent of the poverty level. Assets such as savings accounts, property, bonds, etc., will help the sponsors prove that they meet the income requirements.

Sponsors who do not meet the income requirements can add the income of their household members to their income level. To do so, the eligible family members will need to sign a contract on Form I-864A, Affidavit of Support Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member. If the sponsors are still unable to meet the income requirements, a separate affidavit must be filed by another person who is willing to become a joint sponsor. Like the primary sponsor, the joint sponsor also must meet all the requirements and must be willing to financially support the immigrant. To sponsor an immigrant, an individual must be above age 18 and must be a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. Only those who are currently residing in the U.S. can sign affidavits to sponsor immigrants.