When applying to become a permanent resident of the United States, you must have a financial sponsor. This person agrees to be financially responsible for you.
The idea behind the sponsorship is to help prevent a strain on the U.S. to support you once you are in the country. A sponsor has specific responsibilities they have a legal obligation to fulfill.
Your sponsor must sign an affidavit of support. This document is a legal contract that states he or she will uphold all the duties of an immigrant sponsor. It is valid until the immigrant becomes a citizen, has worked in the U.S. for about 10 years, dies or leaves the country.
Sponsors have to financially support you if you are unable to do so yourself. If you seek public benefits, the sponsor has to repay them. You can sue the sponsor if he or she does not provide for you or if you have to get assistance to survive.
Your sponsor is likely to be a family member. They have to be at least 18 years old and a citizen or permanent resident. The person has to live in the country and have the financial means to support you. Income of your sponsor must be at least 125% higher than the poverty level. For sponsors who are in the military, that reduces to 100%.
Your sponsor is a key to you being able to seek permanent residency in the United States. In most cases, you cannot get a waiver and must have a sponsor.
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