Affidavit of Support - Family Based Immigrants
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Virginia, United States
Abstract: An applicant for an immigrant visa cannot and will not be granted permanent residence unless they can demonstrate that they won't require financial support from any level of government in the U.S. Being a "Public Charge" is a ground for inadmissibility.
Very often applicants for permanent residence and their sponsors are caught by surprise when after they have filed their applications to immigrate to the U.S., they only then learn that they cannot qualify under the laws that require them to demonstrate that the intending immigrant is not likely to become a "public charge". Quite understandably, the U.S. government is not going to grant immigrants visas only to come to the U.S. and become a drain on the government by applying for welfare, medicaid, food stamps and other government benefits.
This is something that should be considered prior to filing the initial application. If you cannot qualify because your sponsor's income is insufficient, your sponsor must obtain a joint sponsor. That joint sponsor must be another lawful permaent resident or a U.S. citizen and they must be living in the U.S. Their income must be 125% of the federal poverty guidelines (with exceptions) - considering their household number + 1 (the intending immigrant).
For some, this is a major stumbling block to proceeding with their case.
For family based cases the relative sponsoring the petition will need to complete a form I-864 Affidavit of Support. By signing this form, the relative is undertaking the legal responsibility to provide financial support for the sponsored foreign national (referred to in the form as the "intending immigrant") at 125% of the Federal Poverty Line. In order to be able to complete an Affidavit of Support, the petitioning relative will normally need to be able to show income of at least 125% of federal poverty line for their household. In calculating this amount, they must include themselves, their dependents the sponsored foreign national and any other foreign nationals they might have sponsored in the past for whom they are still liable.
Often times, the family petitioner may be a spouse of the intending immigrant. Perhaps the intending immigrant is the source of financial support for the petitioner. However, unless that intending immigrant is lawfully employed, meaning they are working pursuant to a governement issued work permit, their income cannot be used for this calculation. If however, the intending immigrant has had a work ID for example from DACA or TPS, then their income can be used as long as they can prove that they will be continuing in their current employment after obaining legal residence.
More often than not in family based cases of this nature, the intending immigrant is not working with a vailid work permit and therefore cannot use their income to meet this qualificaition. In that event, the petitioner will need to obtain a co-sponsor for the intending immigrant.
If you are unsure if you can qualify under the financial requirements, you should seek the advice of an immigration attorney.
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