5 Things You May Want to Know: I-864 Affidavit of Support
An I-864 Affidavit of Support is required for all individuals who are petitioning for the admission of a family-sponsored immigrant. The affidavit is intended to show that the sponsor has the financial means to support the intending immigrant/beneficiary such that the beneficiary will not become a financial burden on the government. By signing the I-864, and should the intending immigrant actually immigrate as a result of the sponsor's application, the sponsor has contractually agreed to financially support the beneficiary. Thus, it is important that a sponsor fully understands his/her responsibility under the I-864. Of equal importance, the beneficiary should understand his/her rights to financial support by the sponsor.
1) What are my obligations as a sponsor?
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is essentially a contract between the sponsor and the government of the United States. By signing an affidavit of support, a sponsor agrees to provide an intending immigrant financial support at 125% of the poverty level. Further, in the event that the intending immigrant applies for federal or state means-tested public benefits, the income and assets of the sponsor will be considered available to the immigrant and used to determine his or her eligibility.
2) What if I do not fulfill my obligations as a sponsor?
If the sponsor fails to provide the agreed financial support, the intending immigrant can sue for this support. Moreover, if the intending immigrant does receive any covered means-tested public benefit, the federal, state, or local agency providing the benefits can ask for reimbursement from the sponsor and can sue if reimbursement is not provided.
3) When do my obligations as a sponsor begin and end?
The mere signing of Form I-864 does not impose any legal or financial obligations on the sponsor. The intending immigrant must actually acquire permanent resident status in order for the obligations of the sponsor to take effect.
An I-864 Affidavit of Support terminates:
- When a sponsored immigrant becomes a naturalized citizen;
- Upon the death of the sponsor or sponsored immigrant;
- Upon the sponsored immigrant’s abandonment of status and permanent departure from the United States; or
- If the sponsored immigrant has worked, or can be credited with, 40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act.
4) What effect does divorce have on my obligations as a sponsor?
It is important to note that divorce does not terminate the sponsor’s financial obligations to support the sponsored immigrant. The amount that the sponsor is legally obligated to provide to the sponsored immigrant may however be reduced by any wages earned by the sponsored immigrant or any alimony or spousal support which may be awarded during a divorce proceeding.
5) What is the effect of a child support award on my obligations as a sponsor?
Unlike alimony or spousal support, child support payments do not result in a reduction of the financial obligations of the sponsor. The sponsor will remain legally liable to provide financial support to the sponsored immigrant in an amount of 125% of the poverty guidelines. The underlying purpose of child support payments is to ensure children receive the same proportion of parental income, and thereby enjoy the standard of living they would have experienced had their parents remained together. It is intended to benefit the child and not the sponsored immigrant and is therefore considered in addition to the financial obligations of a sponsor.
Contact Columbia, MD immigration attorney Van Doan for more information regarding the financial support obligations of a sponsor under an I-864 Affidavit of Support.
Categories: Immigration Law