In the context of U.S. immigration, a joint sponsor is someone who agrees to financially support an immigrant visa applicant if the primary sponsor (usually the petitioner or the intending immigrant’s family member) does not meet the income requirements set by the U.S. government.
When a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsors a family member for an immigrant visa by filing Form I-130, they are required to demonstrate that they have the financial means to support the immigrant and ensure they do not become a public charge. The U.S. government sets specific income thresholds, known as the poverty guidelines, which vary depending on the family size and location of the sponsor.
If the primary sponsor’s income does not meet the required threshold, they can seek the assistance of a joint sponsor. The joint sponsor must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and meet the income requirements themselves. They must complete a separate Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate their ability to financially support the immigrant.
Both the primary sponsor and the joint sponsor are legally responsible for financially supporting the immigrant and ensuring they do not become a public charge while the immigrant is in the United States. The joint sponsor’s income and assets are considered in addition to those of the primary sponsor to meet the financial eligibility criteria.
It’s important to note that the sponsorship process can be complex, and there are legal obligations associated with being a joint sponsor. Therefore, individuals considering becoming joint sponsors should carefully review the requirements and consult with an immigration attorney or legal expert to ensure they understand their responsibilities.
Joint sponsor checklist of required documents
When serving as a joint sponsor for someone applying for an immigrant visa in the United States, you’ll need to provide various documents to demonstrate your ability to financially support the immigrant. Below is a checklist of required documents typically needed for the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) process:
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): You will need to complete, sign, and submit the Form I-864. Make sure you use the most current version of the form, which can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency: You will need to provide evidence of your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. This could be a copy of your U.S. passport, birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, or green card.
- Proof of Income: You must demonstrate that your income meets or exceeds the required income threshold. This usually involves providing the following documents:
- Copies of your most recent federal income tax return (Form 1040) and all supporting schedules.
- W-2 forms or 1099 forms for the most recent tax year.
- Recent pay stubs or employment letters to prove your current income.
- If self-employed, provide evidence of income and business ownership, such as business tax returns and financial statements.
- Employment Verification Letter: If you are currently employed, provide a letter from your employer confirming your job, salary, and the length of your employment. This letter should be on company letterhead.
- Proof of Assets: If your income alone does not meet the required threshold, you may need to provide proof of assets, such as bank statements, stocks, bonds, or other financial assets.