Can a U.S. Citizen Sponsor a Friend?

While you won’t be able to petition for a friend’s green card or immigration visa, you are able to help financially support your friends petition by using the Affidavit of Support, or Form I-864.

This is required prior to your friend’s interview at a Consulate or U.S. embassy, or when they submit their adjustment of status if they’re already in the United States. Becoming a financial sponsor for your friend is a pretty important commitment. You’re essentially saying that your friend will not need to apply for public aid, as they will receive enough money through your support and their employment. This means if your friend does receive any governmental assistance, you may end up either in a civil lawsuit or be liable for those fines and will need to repay the government. This could include programs like Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Food Stamps, State Child Health Insurance Program, or temporary assistance for needy families. Other government assistance programs are still okay for your friend to use without any liability.

This is a long-term commitment. You are liable for your friend for either 10 years, or until your friend becomes a citizen, whichever comes first. However, it is important to note you’re not responsible for any credit cards, personal debt or medical bills your friend may incur. The obligation only extends to the use of public assistance – government aid.

Income Requirements to Sponsor a Friend

If you don’t meet the basic income requirements to sponsor your friend, you’re not eligible to be a sponsor. Your household income must be greater than 125% of the poverty level, depending on your household size. For example, if you’re a household of 2, your minimum income must be $20,575, while a household of 8 must have a minimum income of $52,975.

How to File Your Affidavit

As mentioned previously, you’ll need to fill out form I-864 and sign the document with a notary public in your presence in order to have the document notarized. Along with this form, you’ll need to provide your proof of employment by submitting your W-2 and your most recent income tax returns.

You’ll need to submit additional documents if:

  • If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to include a copy from your recent federal income tax return of Schedule C, D, E or F.

  • If you’re active duty, you’ll need to include proof of your active military status if you have to rely on the adjustment income requirement of 100% of the U.S poverty line.

  • If you’re a U.S. Citizen, you’ll need to include either a birth certificate, passport or naturalization certificate.

  • If you’re a permanent resident, you’ll need to include a copy of your permanent resident card.

Once you’ve completed your application, send it over to your friend. They can submit the affidavit on the National Visa Center’s online portal or with their adjustment of status application. If this application process sounds a little confusing, get in touch with an experienced immigration lawyer to make sure you’re filling out the right paperwork, so you’re not delayed or denied from becoming a sponsor.

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