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If you are a United States citizen looking to sponsor someone for immigration, there are many things you’ll need to consider, and there is a significant amount of paperwork involved. As such, connecting with a New York City family immigration lawyer in New York City is essential, especially if you need assistance when filing the affidavit of support. If you’re unsure what this document is or why it’s necessary, you’ll want to keep reading. The following blog answers some of the most common questions regarding this matter.

What Is an Affidavit of Support in Immigration Cases?

Depending on the kind of visa they are applying for, someone who wants to immigrate to the United States must have a sponsor. Essentially, this means that a United States citizen is willing to financially support the petitioner in the event they need assistance. This is required as the government wants to prevent immigrants with family in the country from enrolling in government assistance programs.

Those who must have a sponsor are generally those entering the United States as an immediate relative of a citizen or via a family-based preference tier. These include the following:

  • Immediate relatives: Parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21 of United States citizens
  • First preference: Unmarried adult (21 years old) children of United States citizens
  • Second preference: Spouses of and unmarried children of permanent residences
  • Third preference: Married children of United States citizens
  • Fourth preference: siblings of United States citizens, if the citizen is over 21

Generally, you’ll be responsible for handling their debts and financially supporting them until they can do so themselves. This support will last until the family member has worked 40 quarters, which is ten years.

What Are the Requirements?

When you must sign an affidavit of support for a loved one looking to come to the United States, you must file a Form I-864. To serve as a sponsor, you must be at least 18 years old and live in the United States. Your residence status will determine which family members you are eligible to sponsor.

In addition to age and residency requirements, you must also be able to prove that you meet the minimum income requirement. Generally, you’ll need to make at least 125% more than the federal poverty level for a similar-sized household. You must submit your most recent tax return and proof of employment when you file the petition.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you can ask someone to serve as a joint sponsor. However, you cannot combine household incomes. As such, you or the co-sponsor must individually meet the 125% requirement.

Unfortunately, many documents necessary for immigration matters can be complex to complete. If you are unsure how to answer a section, accidentally input the wrong information, or leave something blank, it can invalidate the entire process. As such, it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney when looking to sponsor a relative. At the Law Offices of Jason A. Dennis, our dedicated legal team will do everything possible to help make this process easier and less stressful for you. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.