The Immigration Law Guide

What is an Immigration Sponsor?

In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of immigration sponsorship, what exactly an immigration sponsor is, and how the process works so you can make an informed decision.

If someone you know is living outside the United States and wants to become an American citizen or permanent resident, then immigration sponsorship is one of the most efficient and effective ways of navigating the process.

Whether the immigrant is a friend, spouse, family member, or even an employee, you can help them start their new life in the US by becoming their sponsor.

In this guide we answer the following questions:

  1. What does an immigration sponsor do?
  2. Who can be an immigration sponsor?
  3. Can multiple people sponsor an immigrant?
  4. Are you a good candidate to sponsor an immigrant?
What is an Immigration Sponsor?

What does an immigration sponsor do?

An immigration sponsorship is a legally binding contract between the sponsor and the US government. This contract is called an Affidavit of Support, and it commits the sponsor to maintaining financial responsibility for the immigrant until one of the following events occurs:

  • The immigrant is credited with 40 quarters of work (approximately 10 years)
  • The immigrant becomes a US citizen
  • The immigrant dies or leaves the US permanently

The purpose of sponsorship is to ensure that the immigrant does not become a “public charge” in the US. Should the immigrant benefit from social programs, the sponsor will be required to reimburse the government on their behalf.

Learn more about how to sponsor an immigrant.

Who can be an immigration sponsor?

There are several criteria that you must satisfy in order to qualify for immigration sponsorship.

In order to sponsor an immigrant, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that you:

    1. Are a US citizen or green-card holder
    2. Are at least 18 years of age
    3. Live in the US or its territories
    4. Meet or exceed the minimum income requirements

Who can be an immigration sponsor?

Can multiple people sponsor an immigrant?

In most cases, as long as you meet the minimum financial requirements regarding household income and assets, then you can sponsor an immigrant on your own. These requirements exist to ensure you have the means to provide for the beneficiary when they arrive in the US and that neither you nor the immigrant will not become dependent on US public benefits.

If you are unable to meet the financial requirements, then you may still have the option to sponsor an immigrant alongside a “co-sponsor” or “joint sponsor.”

What is a co-sponsor?

A financial co-sponsor is a US citizen or permanent resident (green-card holder) who makes a legal commitment alongside the primary sponsor to financially support the applicant. You can think of a co-sponsor as an insurance policy for the US government, in case the primary sponsor is unable to provide for the beneficiary.

If you enlist the help of a joint sponsor, it’s important that they understand all the legal and financial obligations to which they’re agreeing.

Are you a good candidate to sponsor an immigrant?

As long as you meet the requirements for sponsorship, helping someone you care about gain residency in the US can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, there are some pros and cons of sponsoring an immigrant to consider. You want to make sure you understand all the legal and financial risks and liabilities of immigration sponsorship before you make a final decision.

If you have questions or concerns about the process of sponsoring an immigrant or what to expect, it may be a good idea to get in touch with an attorney who specializes in immigration law.