When employers or family members take on the role of sponsor for an immigrant seeking status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States, they agree to take on several responsibilities that are legally binding. Therefore, it is vital for those considering sponsorship to be fully aware of not only the requirements and procedures involved, but also their legal duties.

The responsibilities and obligations of a sponsor in San Diego are crucial to understand as failure to meet these duties could have negative effects on all parties involved. Our dedicated visa attorneys could further explain these duties as well as handle any challenges that may arise during this process.

What it Means to Be a Sponsor

Immigration status as a legal permanent resident (LPR) are typically granted either through employment or a family connection. So, depending on whether a family member or company sponsors an immigrant in San Diego, the responsibilities and obligations differ.

It is important to note that in any sponsorship situation, the obligations are considered legally binding and there can be severe consequences if the sponsorship duties are not fulfilled to either the satisfaction of the immigrant or of the U.S. government. In essence, a sponsor is pledging to provide financial support to the immigrant, either directly or through employment, so that the immigrant does not have to rely on government benefits to meet basic living needs. The procedures and responsibilities vary depending on whether the visa is based on status as an employee, family member, adopted child or refugee.

The Responsibilities of Employers Sponsoring Workers

Many employers seeking to sponsor an employee or prospective employee for LPR status or another type of visa must obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Labor before beginning the visa process. The certification process can be lengthy and costly and if an employer fails to cover all costs, fines or other consequences may be assessed.

In addition to paying any necessary certification costs, an employer must also file and pay the fees associated with the petition for the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While the worker’s family may also be eligible to receive LPR status, the employer is not obligated to pay the costs associated with their applications.

One of the main responsibilities that an employer in San Diego has when sponsoring an immigrant is demonstrating an ability to pay that worker the prevailing wage for that job in the location where it will be performed. Then they must pay at or above that rate. While at this time there is no minimum required duration of the employment relationship, if the employee leaves employment soon after receiving LPR status, the sponsorship could appear fraudulent and may result in investigation from USCIS.

The Obligations of Those Sponsoring Family Members

The arrangement for those sponsoring an immigrant for a visa based on family relationship is based on the Affidavit of Support. With this document, the sponsor pledges to provide financial support for the immigrant for a substantial length of time—usually until the immigrant either becomes a citizen or until they have accumulated at least 40 quarters of Social Security work credit, which takes about ten years.

The Affidavit or Support is a legally binding contract enforceable in a court of law. The obligations of a sponsor in San Diego to provide support continue even when circumstances change. For instance, if a citizen sponsors their spouse and the couple later divorces, the sponsorship obligations remain in place.

Contact a San Diego Attorney About the Duties of an Immigration Sponsor

Because there are potentially severe consequences for failing to meet the responsibilities and obligations of a sponsor in San Diego, those who are considering sponsorship are advised to consult an experienced immigration attorney. Our team could work hard to ensure that all parties understand this relationship and the requirements are properly fulfilled. To learn more, call Hacking Immigration Law, LLC.