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Most prospective immigrants must have sponsorship from a qualifying individual already living in the U.S. legally to start the immigration process. In most situations, this sponsor is either an immediate family member of the prospective immigrant or an employer who intends to provide that immigrant with full-time employment.

Sponsoring an immigrant in San Diego is a substantial responsibility, and people who accept this obligation must meet numerous prerequisite conditions and assume financial liability for the person they are sponsoring. If you would like to start the formal sponsorship process, an experienced immigration attorney could provide custom-tailored guidance and support for your unique circumstances.

Responsibilities of Sponsoring an Immigrant

Agreeing to act as an immigrant’s sponsor means agreeing to financially support them if necessary until they either get 40 hours of Social Security work credit, achieve U.S. citizenship, permanently abandon their U.S. residence, or pass away. Neither divorce from the immigrant nor personal bankruptcy absolves a sponsor in San Diego from this financial liability.

Additionally, if a person living and/or working in the United States with an immigrant visa takes in any means-tested government benefits at either the federal or state level, their sponsor is obligated to reimburse the government for the full value of those benefits. The sponsor may even be subject to legal action from the government if they fail to pay back the value of such benefits.

Who Is Eligible to Sponsor an Immigrant?

Only certain family members of prospective immigrants are allowed to serve as a sponsor. Specifically, current U.S. citizens may sponsor their spouse, fiancé(e), children, parents, and siblings with some conditions, while permanent residents may only sponsor their spouse and/or any children under 21 who are unmarried. Employers who want to sponsor future employees generally must have already extended a job offer to the prospective immigrant and have received certification from the Department of Labor, although there are some exceptions for certain classes of employment-based visa applicants.

Either way, the sponsor must show that their income level equals or exceeds 125 percent of the federal poverty level, or at least 100 percent of that level if the sponsor is an active-duty military servicemember who is helping their spouse or child. If person trying to sponsor an immigrant in San Diego does not have a high enough income through wages or salary to meet this requirement, they may include financial assets like bank accounts, bonds, and property holdings when calculating total financial liability. An individual may also include earnings and assets from other members in a household.

Talk to a San Diego Attorney About Sponsoring an Immigrant

Even for individuals who meet all the necessary qualifications, taking on the obligation of sponsoring an immigrant in San Diego can have numerous expected and unexpected consequences. Anyone considering this kind of role should have all the information possible about this choice before making a commitment, especially if it pertains to the immigration of a family member or employee.

A knowledgeable legal professional could help you understand your rights and work with you to fulfill the duties inherent to this role. Call today for a consultation.

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