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WHAT IS AN AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT?

Intending family-based immigrants generally are required to show sufficient financial support from a qualified person, in order to demonstrate that they will not become a "public charge" of the United States.  This financial support is demonstrated by the filing of an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864).  This week's blog will begin a multi-part explanation of the requirements of the Affidavit of Support.

WHO NEEDS AN AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT?

The following family-based categories of intending immigrants are required to submit an Affidavit of Support:

     All immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, unmarried children under age 21 and parents of U.S. citizens that are over age 21)

     All family-based preference immigrants (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent resident aliens, married sons and daughters of permanent residents, married sons        and daughters of U.S. citizens and siblings of U.S. citizens that are over age 21)

WHO IS QUALIFIED TO BE A FINANCIAL SPONSOR?

To be a sponsor, an individual must be a U.S. citizen or national, or a lawful permanent resident.  Additionally, the sponsor must be domiciled in the United States.  Several exceptions apply to the domicile requirement, such as temporary assignment abroad, intention to reestablish domicile in the U.S., employee of the U.S. government, etc.).  

HOW MUCH INCOME DOES THE SPONSOR NEED TO HAVE?

In most cases, the sponsor must show annual individual income greater than 125 percent of the poverty guidelines, given the household size. Active duty U.S. military sponsors that are sponsoring spouse and child need only show 100 percent of the poverty guidelines as income.  Alternatively, an individual sponsor may demonstrate sufficient assets instead of income to satisfy this requirement.

WHAT IF MY SPONSOR DOESN'T MEET THE INCOME/ASSETS REQUIREMENT?

If the sponsor does not have sufficient income or assets, the intending immigrant will be ineligible to immigrate to the United States.  A second qualified sponsor (called a joint sponsor) can submit an Affidavit of Support to avoid the intending immigrant being ineligible to immigrate. 

If you're considering filing an immigrant visa petition, it is critical to have solid legal advice about the Affidavit of Support.  The attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience assisting immigrants with visa petitions and applications for adjustment of status. The attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm can ensure that the intending immigrant has a qualified financial sponsor and that the Affidavit of Support requirements are fully satisfied.  Contact Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio for additional information regarding the Affidavit of Support.

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