Green Card Sponsor Requirements

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U.S. citizens or permanent residents who want to bring immigrants to the United States to live or work need to fill out several forms so the immigrant can get his Green Card. The main form, I-864, indicates the sponsor's willingness to support the immigrant as he cannot use public funds to support himself. Most immigrants who come to the United States are sponsored by family members already here or by potential employers.

Sponsorship of Family Members

Family members fall into several different classifications, depending on their relationship to the sponsor. But whichever group the immigrant falls into, the sponsor still needs to submit Form I-130 to the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services. The form, which is available online, asks for personal information about the sponsor and the beneficiary.

The sponsor must complete this form for each relative she is trying to get into the United States. She must also pay a separate fee for each relative. Additionally, she must complete a form I-864 which is an affidavit of support of the immigrant(s).

A sponsor must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the United States or its possessions.

Sponsorship of Employees

Employers who want to bring immigrants into the United States to work as their employees must also fill out Forms I-130 and I-864. Additionally, the employer must get permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to bring the immigrant to work in the United States. After this permission is received, the employer must file Form I-140 which asks for information about the employer and the immigrant as well as the immigrant's spouse and children. The form also asks for information on the job the immigrant will be performing.

Form I-864

Both sponsoring family members and employers must fill out Form I-864 which asks for detailed information about the sponsor's financial situation as proof the sponsor has the financial resources to support the immigrant.

The form, available online, consists of 19 pages of instructions along with the application form. In addition to the application form, sponsors must provide proof of employment and self-employment and a copy of their latest federal income tax return.

All sponsors must prove they have the resources to support the immigrant. If the application is for a family member, the sponsor must show he can support the immigrant, as well as his own family, at a minimum of 125 percent of the federal poverty level. If an active duty military person wants to bring in a foreign spouse, he need only show support at 100 percent of the federal poverty level.

Family members living at the same address can pool resources if the income limit is a problem. All sponsors, even employers, must fill out Form I-864 for each person they are bringing to the United States.

Length of Sponsorship

Sponsorship of an immigrant ends when the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, the sponsor or the immigrant dies, the immigrant works here for 10 years, or the immigrant moves out of the United States. A divorce does not absolve the sponsoring spouse from these duties.



About the Author

Cheryl Teal is an award-winning photojournalist who began writing professionally in 1968. She is a former small-business owner who specializes in writing about business, motorcycles and travel. She has her own line of travel guides called "Cheryl's Guides," which are mostly about travel in China. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

Photo Credits

  • office workers image by Tracy Martinez from