Understanding Immigration Law: What is an Affidavit of Support?

If you are considering sponsoring another person for a family-based green card, you will most likely be required to complete and submit form I-864, also known as the Affidavit of Support. The full form is made available by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Signing an Affidavit of Support a serious long-term commitment. In this post, our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney explains four of the most important things that you need to know about the I-864 form.

Four Things All Sponsors Should Know About the Affidavit of Support (I-864 form)

  • What are the Sponsor’s Obligations?

When you sign an I-864 Affidavit of Support, you will become financially responsible for the green card holder who you are agreeing to sponsor. This means that you will have a duty to ensure that this individual always has access to income that is equal to 125 percent of the federal poverty level. Additionally, you are responsible for reimbursing the United States government should the green card holder need to access certain means-tested benefits.

  • How Long Does the I-864 Support Obligation Last?

The I-864 Affidavit of Support comes with some obligations that last indefinitely. Your obligations will only be extinguished if one of the following five things happens:

  • The green card holder becomes an American citizen;
  • The green card holder works for 10 years;
  • The green card holder voluntarily leaves the United States;
  • The green card holder gets deported; or
  • The green card holder passes away.

With this information in mind, you need to be sure to carefully consider your own circumstances before agreeing to become a green card sponsor. Do not sign anything that you do not understand. If you have any questions, consult with a lawyer.

  • Can Support Obligations Be Terminated Through Divorce?

No. While many people are shocked to learn this fact, a divorce will not relieve a sponsor of their I-864 obligations. As long as your former spouse is still an eligible green card holder, you (as a sponsor) will still be financially responsible for them.

  • Can Anyone Sign an Affidavit of Support?

No. To be eligible to sign an affidavit of support, you must be able to prove to federal immigration officials that you have a sufficient financial means. If you do not have proven income to show to immigration officers, then you cannot be a sponsor for the purposes of family-based immigration. Though, you may be able to find someone else to act as a joint sponsor for you.  

Contact Our Top-Rated Los Angeles Immigration Lawyers

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our legal team has extensive experience handling complex immigration cases. If you have any questions about the I-864 Affidavit of Support form, we can help. Please do not hesitate to call our office today at (213) 262-2000 for your immigration consultation. We represent immigrants and their families throughout Los Angeles County, including in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Torrance, and West Hollywood.