According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), anyone who wishes to sponsor an immigrant family member must complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act, in order to legally be considered a sponsor. Your I-864, Affidavit of Support, is intended to provide proof that you are financially able to support your immigrant family members. This helps the federal government ensure that incoming, family-based immigrants will not be dependent on it for financial support.
Before you get started, there are a few other things that must be in place before Form I-864 can be filed and you become a sponsor. First, you must make a petition for the relative you wish to sponsor and be notified that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office has approved your petition. Your relative must also be scheduled to turn in their immigrant visa overseas, and there must be a currently available visa for that relative.
For U.S. citizens hoping to sponsor immediate immigrant family members, there is some flexibility on the order in which these events transpire. However, Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, must be filed regardless of who you are hoping to sponsor and what your current immigration status is. However, the rules are different for permanent residents and people granted asylum or refugee status within the past 2 years. There are also unique procedures if you have recently married or become engaged to a foreign national (these also apply to same-sex couples).
For a step-by-step breakdown of the process that sponsors and family-based immigrants must go through in order to successfully establish sponsorship, visit the State Department’s wealth of resources on family-based immigrant visas. Before doing anything else, set yourself and your immigrant family member up for success by enlisting the help of our Cleveland immigration attorneys at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. Call us at (888) 491-8770 or schedule a confidential consultation with us today.