41. What are my responsibilities as a sponsor?
When you sign the Affidavit of Support, you accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant until he becomes a U.S. Citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters of work. Any ‘joint sponsors’ or household members whose income is used to meet the minimum income requirements are also legally responsible for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant. If the immigrant receives any ‘means-tested public benefits’, you are responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them. If you do not repay the debt, the agency can sue you in court to get the money owed. When in doubt, ask the benefit provider whether the benefit is a ‘means-tested public benefit’.
Note: Currently, Federal ‘means-tested public benefits’ include Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the State Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). States and local jurisdictions may also designate certain of their programs as means-tested public benefits.
42. When does a sponsor's obligation to support sponsored foreign nationals end?
The sponsorship obligation continues until the sponsored foreign national naturalizes, has worked or can be credited with 40 quarters of work, leaves the U.S. permanently, or dies. However, a sponsor or the sponsor’s estate remains liable for any support or requests for repayment of benefits that arose before the support obligation ended.
43. Does divorce nullify the sponsorship agreement?
No, divorce does not nullify the sponsorship agreement.
44. If a person is issued an immigrant visa before the effective date for the new Affidavit of Support but does not immigrate until later, do they need to get a new Affidavit of Support (I-864)?
No, implementing regulations designate Consular Officers interviewing immigrants during the transition period as Immigration Officers. These immigrants will have had their immigrant visa interviews before the new Affidavit of Support requirements become effective and will not need Affidavits of Support that meet the new requirements.
45. Are original Affidavits of Support required for each family member?
Photocopies of the original Affidavit of Support may be used for each accompanying family member as long as each copy has an original signature and is signed before a Consular or Immigration Officer or a notary public. Photocopies are only valid for six months from the date of the signature on the original Affidavit of Support.