How to Cancel a Green Card Sponsorship

By Sue Sponte ; Updated June 20, 2017
Woman posting a notice of revocation

Most immigrants to the United States come with the help of a sponsor, either an employer or family member who petitions the government for the immigrant to be allowed in. In addition, many family-based visa petitions are based on an affidavit of support where the current resident agrees to provide financial support while the new immigrant establishes a life here. For sponsors of immigrant petitions or affidavits of support who want to cancel their sponsorship, the right course of action depends on how far along the immigration process the application has traveled.

Attempt to revoke the immigration petition. The easiest way to put a stop to an immigration sponsorship is to cancel the immigration petition before it is even approved. The person who filed the original I-130 or I-140 petition can contact USCIS in writing to revoke the petition. Because most immigrants are unable to petition on their own behalf, the cancellation of the immigration petition has the effect of ending the immigrant's chances of getting the visa. Mail your notice of revocation to the USCIS officer currently handling your case. That officer will find the petition and recall it for processing of the revocation.

Initiate rescission proceedings. If the green card already has been issued, there is no way to revoke the I-130 or I-140 petition. In that case, the next step would be for USCIS to rescind the immigrant visa that was previously approved. Rescission is available only if USCIS learns that the immigrant was not eligible for adjustment to permanent resident at the time of adjustment; the officer may give notice to the immigrant and schedule a hearing before an immigration judge. If that judge agrees that the immigrant was not eligible for adjustment, the immigrant must surrender the green card. If you believe the original petition was flawed, bring the facts supporting your belief to the attention of the nearest USCIS field office.

Report the immigrant to authorities for removal proceedings. If the immigrant is here and cannot have the green card rescinded, the next most likely method for revoking sponsorship is to report any grounds for removal, formerly called deportation, to USCIS for the agency to investigate. For example, if the immigrant has turned to a life of crime, the service might initiate removal. The grounds for removal are specifically set out in law, and the decision on removal will depend on whether USCIS brings a case and whether the immigration judge agrees.

Revoke the I-864. There are very rare circumstances in which a financial affidavit sponsor can revoke the I-864 affidavit of support. Once immigration has been granted, the affidavit lasts until death, removal of the immigrant or the accumulation of 10 years of solid work history. Leaving aside death of the immigrant, you can speed up the process of the I-864 lapsing from legal effect by encouraging the immigrant to depart the United States for more than one year or by encouraging the immigrant to accumulate 10 good years of work history.


Time is if the essence, and the most important deadline is the decision to admit the alien for immigration. Once the petition is granted, the process of revoking sponsorship is much more difficult and relies on the immigration court system. This can be time consuming and unpredictable.

About the Author

Sue Sponte is an attorney and freelance writer who has published online since 2006 on topics covering business law, criminal law and personal finance. Sponte's print publications have included the "Michigan Law Review," "Naval Law Review" and "Employment Law Letter." Sponte holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan law school and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University.