If you signed, or will sign, Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, it’s important to understand your responsibilities and when they will end. Form I-864 is a contract between you and the U.S. government in which you promise to support the intending immigrant if he or she is unable to do so now or in the future. One of several possible criteria must occur to end your obligations under Form I-864.
Sponsor’s Obligations Under Form I-864
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is a legally enforceable contract. That means either the government or the sponsored immigrant can take the sponsor to court if the sponsor fails to provide adequate support to the immigrant. In fact, the immigrant could decide to quit a job and sue the sponsor for support. Thus, it’s extraordinary important that you trust the intending immigrant.
If any public agencies have provided public benefits to the immigrant during the term of the agreement, the government can sue the sponsor for reimbursement. Likewise, the immigrant can sue to collect enough money to bring his or her income up to 125 percent of the amount listed in the U.S. government’s federal poverty guidelines.
Criteria That Terminates Responsibility
Your obligations under Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, will end if the person who becomes a lawful permanent resident based on that affidavit:
- Becomes a U.S. citizen;
- Has worked, or can receive credit for, 40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act;
- No longer has lawful permanent resident status and has departed the United States;
- Is subject to removal, but applies for and obtains, in remove proceedings, a new grant of adjustment of status, based on a new affidavit of support, if one is required; or
You may have noticed that divorce is not an event that severs responsibility for the immigrant under Form I-864. The sponsor continues to remain responsible for the immigrant spouse, even after divorce.