Agreeing to sponsor someone for immigration involves more than just vouching for them. Sponsors take on substantial responsibility for those seeking to immigrate to the U.S.
Before signing an affidavit of support, you should understand what that obligates you to.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as an immigration sponsor, you accept financial responsibility for the person you sponsored. As such, you must provide for his or her needs such as food and housing.
End of financial responsibility
Your financial obligation as a sponsor extends beyond the application process. You remain responsible for providing for the sponsored immigrant until he or she gains U.S. citizenship, ceases to have lawful U.S. residency and leaves the country, or has credit for 40 quarters of work. Financial sponsorship of immigration applicants also ends with the death of you or the person seeking U.S. residency.
You should keep in mind that if you sponsor a fiancé or spouse, your obligation does not end if you get divorced.
Repayment of public benefits
Under your sponsorship, the immigrant applicant you vouched for should not need public benefits like food stamps or housing assistance. Therefore, if they receive any such assistance through state or federal programs, you may have to pay the awarding agency back for the benefits it provided.
Sponsoring a family member, friend or other acquaintance for immigration to the U.S. is an important and weighted obligation. Understanding your responsibilities before agreeing to sign an affidavit of support may help you avoid potential financial hardships and ensure the best for the person who asked you to act as his or her sponsor.