Affidavits of Support:
When petitioning for a family member it is important for the government to know that the relative you want to bring to the United States will not become a “public charge”. A public charge is someone who relies on federal, state, or local government financial support for survival. The United States government is concerned that these individuals will be taking resources from United States citizens who need them as well.
To determine if your relative will be a public charge, USCIS (immigration) requires petitioners complete an affidavit of support to show they earn enough money to financially support the relative they want to bring to the United States. USCIS determines eligibility based on data collected from federal tax filings, employment information, and data on the petitioner’s assets. With this information, USCIS uses a “poverty guideline chart” to assess the petitioner’s eligibility. The poverty guideline chart considers two factors when determining eligibility: household size and annual salary. As the household size increases so too does the annual income requirement. Household members include minor children, your spouse, individuals you have previously completed an affidavit of support for, and individuals listed as dependents on your tax returns.
If the petitioner is determined to be ineligible, a co-sponsor must be found. A co-sponsor can be anyone as long as they meet these requirements; they must be either a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, they must be residing in the United States, and they must meet the annual salary and household size requirements mentioned above.
It is important to remember that the affidavit of support is a contract between the sponsor, co-sponsor, and United States government. This contract requires the sponsor and co-sponsor to repay all federal, state, and local means-tested benefits accumulated by the beneficiary. It is also important to know that this obligation continues until the beneficiary either becomes a citizen, earns forty qualifying quarters of work (usually ten years), is removed from the United States, or dies. Divorce does not end this obligation.
If you feel you are eligible to be a co-sponsor or if you need assistance with the completion of an affidavit of support for your current petition, please feel free to contact Shryock Law Firm, LLC to set up a consultation.