How to Become A Sponsor for an immigrant Friend? Do you have a friend that wants to come over to the US, and you want to sponsor the person, but don’t know how to go about it? Find out how you can achieve your goal of bringing your immigrant friend over, with the guide in this write-up.
How to Become A Sponsor for an immigrant Friend
The truth is, you can’t petition for an immigrant visa or green card for a friend. The petition is only for family members. So, as you can’t petition for the visa, you can financially sponsor a friend’s immigration petition with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
So, if your friend is applying for an immigrant visa, you should file Form I-864 when your friend has scheduled an interview with a consular officer at the United States Embassy or Consulate.
Moreover, if your friend is already in the Unitedcommunitybank States and needs you to sponsor them for an adjustment to a permanent resident status known as a green card, you may file Form I-864 when they submit their application for an adjustment of status.
Two Ways to Sponsor an immigrant Friend – How to be a Sponsor for an immigrant
The two major ways you can help to sponsor your friend are
- Through financial sponsorship
- Acting as your friend’s legal representative before USCIS
For Financial sponsorship: If a person seeks to go to the U.S. through a family member, the person entering the U.S. must have a financial sponsor. Us law requires a financial sponsor so that non-citizens in the United States won’t become public charges, dependent on government assistance for financial support.
And you don’t have to be a relative to be someone’s financial sponsor. So, a friend can become a financial sponsor.
Who can Become A Financial Sponsor? – How to Sponsor an immigrant Friend
To be a financial sponsor, here are the requirements you must meet:
- Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
- Have an income that is at least 125% of the federal poverty level. However, if your income is not this high, the government may look at certain assets, such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and other property; the government may consider these assets in determining whether you are financially qualified to be a sponsor.
Become A Sponsor By acting as a Legal representative before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
Normally, in the United States, you have to be a licensed attorney to represent others in legal proceedings. But Immigration is one of the few exceptions to this rule. The U.S. immigration law permits non-lawyers to represent non-citizens in immigration proceedings. If you do represent your friend in this manner, your role is similar to that of a lawyer.
However, the 8 C.F.R. § 292.1 contains a list of persons who may represent people before USCIS. This section says that you may represent a “personal friend” before the USCIS if You appear on an individual case basis;
You do not charge your friend for representation, and the Department of Homeland Security official, before whom you are appearing, allows you to represent your friend. This is because lots of people seeking to enter the U.S. can’t afford to pay a lawyer to represent them. So, representing your friend before USCIS may be a big help to them.
What Are Income Requirements to become A Financial sponsor?
For you to be eligible to Financially sponsor your friend, there are basic financial requirements you must meet. You must know that your household income must be greater than 125% of the US poverty level for your household size.
Moreover, in conjunction with the US Department of Health & Human Services, USCIS has issued the following guidance on the matter:
- Household of 2 – $20,575
- Household of 3 – $25,975
- For Household of 4 – $31,375
- Household of 5 – $36,775
- Household of 6 – $42,175
- For Household of 7 – $47,575
- Household of 8 – $52,975
So, for each additional household member, add $5,400. Financial sponsors who are on active duty in the US Armed Forces are granted a little extra leeway. So, instead of placing a 25% premium on the US poverty line, active duty sponsors would only need to present income that is equal to the US poverty level for their household size ( which is 100% of the US poverty level).
How to File an Affidavit of Support
To file an affidavit of support do this:
- After you complete Form I-864, sign the form in the presence of a notary public to have the affidavit notarized.
- Then print a copy of your most recent federal income tax return and W-2 to verify your annual income
- Provide proof of employment. You can include up to three years of tax returns, six months of pay stubs, and a letter from your employer( to strengthen your case).
Depending on your situation, you may need to include one or more of the following documents: For self-employed- a copy of your Schedule C, D, E, or F, from your most recent federal income tax return.
Precautions For Financial Sponsorship
Before you commit to financially sponsoring your friend’s immigration petition, you should know exactly what it is that you’re committing to. Know that, as a financial sponsor, you guarantee that the immigrant will receive enough financial support from their own employment and your financial aid that they will not become a public charge.
And if your friend gets any benefits from a means-tested government assistance program, you will be liable for fines and/or a civil lawsuit to repay the US Government. Nevertheless, this commitment will last until the immigrant becomes a naturalized US citizen or pays into Social Security for 40 quarters (usually 10 years), whichever comes first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I sponsor a friend for immigration?
Though you can’t petition for a friend’s immigrant visa or Green Card, but you can financially sponsor a friend’s immigration petition with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
Can an American citizen sponsor a friend?
Yes, you can sponsor your friend’s immigration petition financially. Being a financial sponsor to an immigrant can make a big difference to their application and can be the difference between being approved or rejected.
What are the risks of sponsoring an immigrant?
The risks of sponsoring an immigrant are high because there are more obligations on the sponsor who signs an affidavit than on the immigrant. Thus, the immigrant may quit a job filing a lawsuit against the sponsor requesting support