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How Do I Financially Sponsor an Immigrant?

In January 2023, the White House and State Department announced the creation of the Welcome Corps, a program intended to alleviate the burden of refugees and asylum seekers flowing into the United States. The program calls for Americans interested in providing financial support to refugees to form groups and raise a minimum of $2,275 per individual sponsored. The refugees don’t always use the funds these generous Americans collect. Although they appreciate the help, many of them prefer to navigate their paths toward financial stability through hard work. Still, the money is there to back them up because that’s what immigration law dictates.

Similar to foreigners who seek legal residency through other programs such as family-based immigration, refugees must comply with certain financial requirements stipulated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. These requirements help refugees avoid adverse situations in which they would have to resort to welfare, thus placing them at risk for deportation on the grounds they’ve become public charges. For this reason, USCIS has a program in place to allow relatives, friends, and even associates to provide financial support.

Sponsoring Immigrants in the U.S.

Most people associate sponsorships with immigration petitions filed by fiancés or fiancées, spouses, or relatives or employer-sponsored petitions. San Diego residents should know there’s another kind of immigration sponsorship solely related to financial support, and it can be provided by third parties even if they’re not family members. These sponsors must be indicated on the applications for visas and green cards, and they’re required to file USCIS Form I-864.

In essence, Form I-864, Affidavit of Support is a promise made to USCIS and green card hopefuls that immigrants will have a financial cushion as they go through the process of becoming permanent residents. This is a long-term commitment that can last a few years, and it’s a firm requirement for all immigrants. In most cases, the individual filing a petition as a sponsor also completes and executes Form I-864, but there are times when third-party sponsors may be needed.

Let’s say a man who has become a naturalized American citizen wishes to bring his adult daughter to California. In this case, a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative must be filed as part of a packet that should include Form I-864. If the Affidavit of Support indicates he lives with his wife and earns less than $13,000 per year, this would put him under the federal poverty guidelines. In this case, someone else would need to step in as a financial sponsor because the threshold is at least 125 percent of the guidelines.

Annual income isn’t the sole financial factor that can be listed on the Affidavit of Support. USCIS adjudicators can look at assets such as retirement accounts, trust funds, and liquid investments. If sponsors are family or household members, they can file a single Form I-864 together, but third parties will need to submit an additional form as a joint affidavit. The best way to determine who can be a more adequate third-party sponsor is to consult with an immigration law firm. 

If you would like more information about sponsoring an immigrant or you need the services of reliable, trustworthy immigration lawyers in San Diego, CA, reach out to KS Visa Law today. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

May 2024