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When a citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsors a family member for a green card, he or she must sign and file an affidavit of support. An affidavit of support is a means by which the government can be assured that people immigrating to the United States do not end up on government assistance. In the affidavit of support, the sponsoring family member promises that he or she has the income and assets to support the beneficiary family member and is able to cover any costs should the sponsored family member turn to public assistance.
The affidavit of support (Form I-134) means the sponsoring citizen or legal permanent resident will be financially responsible for the sponsored family member. If the sponsored family member becomes a public charge, the government agency providing the benefits may sue the sponsor to recover funds. If a sponsor abandons a family member, and that person lawfully signed and filed an affidavit of support, the immigrant family member may sue the sponsor.
At Skinner Law Firm, we assist clients in the Philadelphia and tristate area with all aspects of family-based immigration—including filing affidavits of support. Because a sponsor’s obligations under an affidavit of support may continue for years, many issues can arise down-the-line. We can advise you of not only the requirements to file an affidavit but help mitigate potential problems in sponsoring or maintaining support. Any mistake in the process can cost you not only time and money but also the opportunity to sponsor a family member. For assistance, turn to a trusted family-based immigration lawyer in West Chester in Chester County, PA.
Call us today at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a consultation. We represent clients throughout southeast Pennsylvania and the tristate region, including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, York and Philadelphia counties.
Under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(4), a person is not admissible to the United States if (in the opinion of immigration officials) the person is likely at any time to become a public charge. A person is a public charge if he or she must use cash assistance programs for long-term care at the expense of the government. These types of assistance include:
The above list is not exclusive. Non-cash assistance plans like Medicaid, CHIP, Women Infants & Children (“WIC”) assistance, food stamps, energy assistance, foster care assistance, and job training programs are not considered for the purpose of determining whether a person is a public charge. Again, the list of non-cash assistance plans is broad. To determine whether you meet the threshold requirements to sponsor a family member, you should consult with an immigration attorney today.
Any time a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsors a family member, including a spouse, child, mother, father, brother or sister, he or she must sign an affidavit of support. Immigration officials will consider many factors specific to each case, including age, assets, and other relevant factors.
On the affidavit, the sponsor must document all income, value of assets and all dependable family members. Generally, a United State citizen or lawful permanent resident’s income must meet 125% of the federal Poverty Guidelines to sponsor a family member. Many exceptions to the income requirements on an affidavit of support apply. These exceptions include how income is calculated and secondary individuals who can assist in support and asset valuation.
An affidavit of support is not limited to just the original sponsor’s income. Rather, other family members may also assist to satisfy the income threshold. For example, a United States citizen who is a student may include the income of his parents if he resides with them and wishes to sponsor his foreign-born wife.
If you are considering sponsoring a family member to join you in the Philadelphia or tristate area, it is important that the process is as smooth as possible. At Skinner Law Firm, we can assist you in completing the affidavit(s) of support so that you can sponsor your loved ones for a green card. Contact a West Chester family-based immigration lawyer today at (610) 436-1410 to set up a consultation.