What are the Requirements for Sponsoring an Immigrant?

Sponsoring an immigrant’s entry and stay in the United States is a time-honored American tradition. There are few families that call America their home that did not first gain entry with the help of a family member or friend – and at times even a stranger – who stood up and said that they would vouch for the foreign visitor and take legal and financial responsibility for them. Sponsorship should not be entered into lightly: once you fill out all the forms and commit to being a sponsor, you’re signed up for the entire time that they are in the country.

There are certain forms that need to be filled out in order to sponsor an immigrant. They are:

  • Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative, which establishes your relationship with the individual who you are sponsoring
  • Form I-864, the Affidavit of Support, which is your financial commitment to provide support, including reimbursing the government for any public benefits that the immigrant uses.

Beyond filling out forms, you must meet certain criteria to sponsor an immigrant to the United States. These include:

  • S. citizenship or permanent legal resident status
  • Minimum of 18 years of age at the time of submission of Form I-130
  • Must have a residence in the United States or any of its territories
  • Must meet financial requirements including an income level of at least 125%of the Federal poverty level established by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). The current federal poverty level for an individual is $13,590, making the minimum income to be able to sponsor an immigrant $16,987.50. If you do not meet this level but you have an asset value (including savings and checking accounts, stocks and bonds, real estate properties, or business holdings), this can be counted towards meeting the minimum level.

If you are not able to meet the financial criteria necessary to sponsor an immigrant, you have the ability to jointly sponsor with another person who is willing to sign on for the financial and legal responsibility with you. That other individual must be able to meet the financial criteria on their own: the joint sponsorship does not allow adding two incomes together to meet the threshold.

If you are interested in sponsoring an immigrant and you need more information or support, contact our knowledgeable immigration attorneys today to set up a time for a consultation.