46. Does the Affidavit of Support need to be witnessed or notarized?
The sponsor must sign the original and each photocopied Affidavit of Support before a notary public or an Immigration or Consular Officer. Household members submitting Form I-864A must also sign this contract before a notary public or an Immigration or Consular Officer.
47. Are ‘following to join’ relatives included in the Affidavit of Support?
Family members who will not immigrate within the six-month validity period of the Affidavit of Support should not be listed on it. Petitioners must submit new affidavits of support for ‘following to join’ immigrants at the time they immigrate if it is later than six months after they signed the original Affidavit of Support.
48. Will Consular and Immigration Officers interview sponsors?
Sponsors will not routinely be interviewed. An officer may request that the intending immigrant provide additional information from his or her sponsor at any time during the adjudication of the case. An immigration officer may request that a sponsor appear for an interview if he or she believes that an interview is necessary to make a decision in the case; on rare occasions, a Consular officer could request an interview if the sponsor is overseas.
49. What are the penalties for sponsors who make false statements on the Affidavit of Support?
The criminal penalty for false statements (18 USC 1001) or perjury (18 USC 1621) is a term of imprisonment for up to five years, a fine, or both. The criminal penalty for visa and other document fraud (18 USC 1546) is a term of imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine, or both. All of these offenses have a five-year statute of limitation. Additionally, if fraud is discovered on an Affidavit of Support, the intending immigrant’s Adjustment of Status or immigrant visa application will be denied.
50. What are the ‘change of address’ responsibilities that a sponsor has and what is the penalty for not complying?
During the period in which the Affidavit of Support is in force, sponsors are required to report all changes in their addresses to the Immigration and Naturalization Service on Form I-865, Sponsor’s Change of Address, within 30 days of the change. If a sponsor fails to comply with this provision, he or she is subject to a penalty ranging from $250 to $2,000, unless the sponsor knew that the sponsored immigrant had received ‘means-tested public benefits’. In this instance the fine will range from $2,000 to $5,000. The law requires that sponsors also report their changes in address to the States in which the sponsored immigrants reside. USCIS will not assess penalties if sponsors have reported their address changes to USCIS.