Featured News 2013 What is an Affidavit of Support?

What is an Affidavit of Support?

In immigration, an affidavit of support is a document that an American citizen can sign to accept financial responsibility for an applicant that is trying to achieve permanent residency. Typically, family members sign affidavits of support, committing to provide financially for a child, spouse, or sibling while they are in the United States. The affidavit of support makes the signing individual a financial provider with the responsibility to care for the visa applicant while inside the United States.

Affidavits of support are legally enforceable and it is the sponsor's responsibility to cover all costs until the family member becomes a U.S. citizen or can be credited with approximately 10 years of work. The reason for affidavits of support is to avoid admitting immigrants into the United States where they will become a burden on the state as they petition for government financial aid benefits. The affidavit of support guarantees that these applicants won't petition for government support because they will be able to have their financial needs met by the person who signed the documents.

In order to submit an affidavit of support, individuals will need to locate someone who is willing to be their support in the United States. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, all immediately relatives of U.S. citizens and relatives who qualify for immigration to the U.S. will need to list their relative that is a U.S. citizen and confirm that this relative will be their supporter. For example, unmarried, adult sons and daughters may need to prove that their parent will support them. Sponsors can be related to the immigrant as a spouse, parent, mother-in-law or father-in-law, sibling, child over 18, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or legal guardian of the beneficiary.

Also, spouses of permanent residents and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents must get an affidavit of support in order to immigrate. The married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are currently immigrants, and their spouses or unmarried minor children must be covered in an affidavit of support, and the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses or unmarried minor children must receive support as well.

All of these applicants are exempt from an affidavit of support if they have already worked 40 qualifying quarters (10 years) in the United States. Also, if they can be credited with 40 work hours, or if they can qualify under the Immigration and Nationality Act, then they don't need an affidavit of support.

Those who have earned or qualified for 40 quarters of work in the united states, and those who have an approved Form I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant don't need to get an affidavit of support. Also, those that have an approved Form I-360 as a battered spouse or child do not need an affidavit of support, and any orphans that were adopted by U.S. citizens abroad don't need to fill out the form as well.

The ICE also has some requirements for sponsors who chose to sign the form on an immigrant's behalf. These sponsors are required to be 18 years old or a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. They must live in the United States. Sometimes, individuals will choose to do a joint sponsorship which will allow two people to share the responsibility for the immigrant.

A joint sponsor does not typically need to be related to the immigrant but must reach the 125% income requirement alone. This is a financial requirement which shows the government that both sponsors and joint sponsors have the funds available to support the immigrant. If you want more information about affidavits of support discuss your situation with a local immigration attorney today!

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