Immigration Sponsor Requirements

By Julie Segraves
Ellis Island, where early immigrants were cleared for residency.

ellis island in nyc image by Diane Stamatelatos from Fotolia.com

Each year thousands of people legally emigrate to the United States to work or to be with family members already established here. Regardless of your reason for coming to America, prior to filing the sponsorship requirement, your immigrant petition and subsequent immigrant classification must be accepted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After interviews and security checks are completed, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines your eligibility for admission, and your sponsor can proceed.

Forms

To sponsor an immigrant you must be a U.S. citizen and a relative of the person you wish to sponsor, a prospective employer or a U.S. lawful permanent resident, and your immigrant must have a petition already approved by the USCIS. If you are an American citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must file petition I-130 at the USCIS service center that services your area of residence. If your sponsor is authorized to work abroad for six months or more, they can file the I-130 petition with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their jurisdiction.

Sponsor Requirements

Sponsors must be 18 years old or over and must also be an American citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). They must have a residence in the United States. You cannot circumvent the domicile requirement by having a joint sponsor. The primary sponsor must have an established residence. If you work abroad and wish to be a sponsor, you must prove you have a U.S. residence, your work abroad is temporary and you have evidence of continued ties to the United States. Work abroad as a federal employee, armed services members, certain public international organizations, churches and non-profits are counted as U.S. domiciles. Once the above has been established, the last hurdle to overcome is the income requirements.

Income Requirements

The sponsor must prove that their income is sufficient to ensure that the immigrant you are sponsoring will not become a public charge; dependent upon the government for basic living expenses. When the application is received, the federal Poverty Guidelines in effect at the time will be used to determine if the sponsor's income meets the sponsorship requirements. If they don't, evidence of assets and liabilities may be required. Your income must be 125 percent of the federal Poverty Guidelines. If it isn't, you must prove assets that are five times the difference between the Poverty Guidelines for your household size and 125 percent of the poverty line. You must also prove your assets can sufficiently support the applicant and can be converted to cash within a year, without harming the sponsor or their family members. Sponsors of immediate relatives or children of U.S. citizens must only prove assets three times the difference between your income and federal poverty lines. If you are adopting a foreign child, your assets must equal the difference between your income and poverty guidelines. Assets can be savings, stocks, bonds or property. If you do not meet the income requirements, you may get a co-sponsor, with proven ties to the immigrant, who can make up the difference. You must complete one of the I-864 series forms to be considered.

About the Author

Julie Segraves is a freelance writer and photographer. She has written for several community newspapers in Chicago and authors her own blog. Segraves graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor's in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. She currently works in the IT field as a mainframe operations analyst and disaster recovery specialist.

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