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The role of sponsorship in family-based visa applications

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Family Visas |

When applying for a family-based visa, sponsorship plays a very important role in the immigration process.

Sponsorship involves a legal commitment by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to support a family member who is immigrating to the United States.

Relationship of sponsors

A sponsor typically must be a direct relative, such as a spouse, parent, child or sibling, of the person immigrating. This sponsor must prove their legal status in the U.S. as either a citizen or a permanent resident.

Financial requirements for sponsors

Sponsors must meet specific financial requirements to prove they can support their relatives once they arrive in the U.S. The government requires sponsors to submit an Affidavit of Support, which is a legally binding document that shows the sponsor’s income is at least 125% above the federal poverty line. This requirement helps ensure that the incoming family member will not rely on public benefits.

Responsibilities of a sponsor

By signing the Affidavit of Support, a sponsor agrees to support the family member financially. This obligation generally continues until the family member becomes a U.S. citizen or has worked in the United States for at least 40 qualifying quarters, which is about ten years. The sponsor’s responsibility also includes repaying any public benefits that the family member might use during their time as a permanent resident.

Legal implications for sponsors

Sponsoring a family member is a serious legal commitment. If a sponsor fails to meet their financial obligations, they can face legal consequences, including financial penalties. The government can sue sponsors who do not fulfill their financial commitments as promised in the Affidavit of Support.

The impact of sponsorship

Effective sponsorship ensures that family members who immigrate to the U.S. have the necessary support as they adjust to life in a new country. It also reinforces the importance of family reunification as a cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy.

Prospective sponsors should carefully assess their ability to meet the financial requirements and understand their legal responsibilities before committing to sponsor a family member. This preparation ensures a smoother immigration process and supports the successful integration of family members into U.S. society.