Affidavit of Support
Petitioners who are sponsoring immediate relatives for their green cards need to complete an “Affidavit of Support” as part of the application process. The Affidavit of Support is a verification by the petitioner that if the intending immigrant is unable to support himself, the petitioner will provide such support, at least until such time as the intending immigrant is able to become a U.S. citizen. If the petitioner is unable to meet certain minimum financial requirements, then the petitioner will need to get a financial co-sponsor, who will also complete an Affidavit of Support. The co-sponsor will need to meet certain minimum financial requirements in order to act as a co-sponsor.
Documentation typically required with an Affidavit of Support includes, but is not limited to, tax returns for the past three years, W2s and/or 1099s for the most recent tax year, other applicable documentation of income (leases for rental properties, Social Security or pension statements, etc.), proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency, and pay stubs or letters from employers.
It is important for petitioners and co-sponsors to understand the implications of signing an Affidavit of Support. Not only are petitioners and co-sponsors promising that they will provide support for the intending immigrant if he is unable to support himself, but they may be required to refund the government if the immigrant they are sponsoring receives public benefits while he is still a lawful permanent resident. Petitioners and co-sponsors may also be required by Domestic Relations or a court to provide support for the immigrant they have sponsored, if he is unable to support himself. When a petitioner sponsors his spouse, this duty to support the immigrant applies even if the petitioner and the immigrant spouse sign a pre-nuptial agreement or get divorced. The duty to support the sponsored immigrant ends once he becomes a citizen, leaves the United States permanently, dies, or has worked lawfully in the United States for 10 years.
If you have any questions about the Affidavit of Support, please contact Tanner Law Offices at 717-731-8114 for a consultation with one of our attorneys.