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Expert James
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
Category: Immigration Law
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I have been asked to sponsor an immigrant. What does that mean

Resolved Question:

I have been asked to sponsor an immigrant. What does that mean for me? What are the liabilities & cost for me?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Expert James replied 6 years ago.
I'm happy to answer your question. If there is a delay, please be patient, as I am likely working with other customers as well.

Are you referring to the I-864, Affidavit of Support?

Can you give me more details as to what you mean by "sponsor" an immigrant? What is the person specifically asking you to do?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I haven't seen anything so don't know if it's about the Affidavit of Support. They are just asking me to sponsor them so they can get a SS # XXXXX become a citizen of the US. They did mention that it wouldn't cost me any money but I have been requested to show the past 5 years tax returns. Not sure why they would need that.
Expert:  Expert James replied 6 years ago.
Is this person married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident?

Do you know how this person qualifies to get a green card?

I am just trying to determine for what, exactly, they are asking you to sponsor them, so I can give you the proper information.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes, they are married to a US citizen. They were moved here at the age of 1 by the parents but apparently the parents never did anything to have them become a legal resident. This person has been here their whole life and has all US education. They are now 28-30 yrs old.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Apparently they have been working under a family members SS # XXXXX this time. That family member is and has been back in Mexico for several years and doesn't plan on coming back but this person wants to get right and be legal.....I know, a mess! I want to help them take care of business and make things right but very scary for me. I need to know exactly what I'm getting myself into.

Expert:  Expert James replied 6 years ago.
It sounds to me like this person is asking you to act as a sponsor for their I-864, Affidavit of Support, which is a quite serous request to consider.

As a sponsor, you are responsible for re-paying any means tested public benefits that the intending immigrant incurs, just as the US citizen spouse would be (you are co/joint sponsors of the intending immigrant), but does not repay himself/herself. Basically, you are making a contract with the US government that if the intending immigrant makes use of any of the following public benefits, you will be the responsible party for repaying the costs:
  • Food stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
This responsibility remains your for at least 10 years, and it can only be terminated in the following ways:

- intending immigrant becomes a US citizen
- intending immigrant/you die
- intending immigrant is deported or otherwise departs and abandons lawful permanent resident status
- has worked or can be credited with at least 40 hours of work under the Social Security Act

Again, this is a serious matter to consider, as it may have consequences upon you, if things go wrong. Also remember that even if there is a divorce between the parties, you are still on the hook for the sponsorship.

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