If you decide to sponsor an immigrating family member to get a green card, you will typically need to submit an Affidavit of Support. Usually, this is done using Form I-864. Doing so is a serious commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. So, here are some of the legal implications of Form I-864 and sponsoring an immigrating family member to the US.
The Sponsor’s Obligations
Form I-864 is a legally binding contract. Either the government or the immigrant can take the sponsor to court if they fail to provide support. The law places more obligations on the sponsor than the immigrating party.
If the government decides to sue the sponsor for failure to meet their obligations they may collect money from the individual. This can be used to reimburse agencies that have given benefits to the immigrant. If an immigrant sues, they can collect enough money to bring their income to 125% of the government’s poverty guidelines.
Form I-864 places a lot of legal obligations on the sponsor. Therefore, you should always consult with an immigration lawyer. You may be wondering, “how much does an immigration lawyer cost?”. This varies depending on your needs and the specifics of your situation.
Who Is Eligible To Serve As A Sponsor?
The sponsor also has to meet certain requirements to fulfill this role. Each sponsor needs to be a US citizen, national, or permanent resident in the country. They need to be over 18 and live in the United States or a US territory.
The sponsor will need to sign an Affidavit of Support regardless of their income. However, if their income and assets are insufficient, they will need to look for additional sponsors. Otherwise, the immigrant will be unable to settle in the United States.
Sponsors May Be Subject To Fines
When sponsoring an immigrating family member, you could be fined for failing to meet your financial obligations. When sponsors try to avoid their obligations, the US government reserves the right to penalize them. This can mean fines of up to $5,000. Because of this, you have a legal requirement to report any change of address to USCIS within 30 days of moving. These measures are in place so sponsors cannot escape their financial obligations.