The immigration process can be lengthy, stressful and difficult for many individuals seeking to stay in the United States permanently. If you have a loved one undergoing this process, you may wish to do whatever you can to help them get their green card.
One way to facilitate a family member’s application for lawful permanent residence is by agreeing to be a sponsor for them. Being a sponsor means that you are accepting responsibility for your immigrant loved one, but it is important that you know more about immigration sponsorship before you proceed.
Which family members can you sponsor?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services explains the process of helping a relative get a green card through sponsorship.
If you are a born or naturalized citizen of the United States, you may sponsor a family member who is your:
If you are a lawful permanent resident also living in the U.S. on a green card, you may sponsor a family member who is your spouse or unmarried child
A member of your relative’s immediate family, such as a spouse or unmarried child, can typically join them in the process by applying for an immigrant visa.
What are your responsibilities as a sponsor?
You will sign an affidavit of support stating that you will bear the financial burden of supporting your immigrating family member. This also entails repaying any agencies that provide public benefits to your sponsored individual. Your responsibilities as a sponsor extend until your immigrating family member becomes a U.S. citizen or until they have a sufficient work history to prove their independence.
It is possible to play a large and supportive role in helping your loved one secure lawful permanent residence in the U.S. through sponsorship, but remember that it entails significant financial responsibility.