In Florida and across the United States, immigration has become a major topic of discussion. Much of the debate centers on illegal immigration, but some are also trying to reduce the number of legal immigrants that come to the United States. Others are cracking down on people who might be accused of manipulating the system.
With the issue and attention being paid to it leading to rampant apprehension for those who want to help loved ones come to the United States as well as the immigrants themselves, it is important to understand some basics about the process. One fundamental part of a friend or relative coming to the United States to live is the affidavit of support.
What is the affidavit of support and do I need one?
An affidavit of support is a contractual obligation that a sponsor will sign to provide for the immigrant when they come to live in the United States. This could be anyone, but it is generally a relative, a spouse or a person to whom the sponsor is engaged to be married. Once it is signed, the person who signed it is financially responsible for the immigrant. The affidavit is a legal contract and it will be in effect until the immigrant becomes a citizen or has 40 quarters of work. Forty quarters is approximately a decade.
To get an immigrant visa, the relatives of U.S. citizens—including unmarried offspring younger than 21—and others who are deemed qualified must have an affidavit of support by a U.S. citizen. There are situations when the immigrant does not need to get this affidavit. They are: if they have already worked for the 40 quarters; can be credited with those 40 quarters; or are a child of a U.S. citizen who was admitted as a permanent resident on or after Feb. 27, 2001.
The sponsor must know that they are obligated to provide support based on this affidavit no matter what. If, for example, a person signed the affidavit for a foreign spouse and got divorced after the spouse came to live in the United States, the responsibility to provide support remains. Immigrants who receive public benefits will leave the sponsor responsible for paying it back.
For immigrants and their families, the affidavit of support can be essential
With any type of immigration case, people can be confused by the entire process. This confusion may be exacerbated by the ongoing disputes about immigration and what laws might be changed or proposed to address it. Frequently, this hinges on the political parties in power and their philosophy.
When thinking about these concerns and trying to find viable solutions to immigration questions, it is imperative to have experienced help to navigate the process. That includes understanding the affidavit of support, filling out the forms properly and doing what is necessary to show that the immigrant will be supported.
For advice and assistance with these complex issues, it is useful to discuss the case and know all the options. Talking to experienced professionals who know all the ins and outs of immigration, the law and how the current political climate might affect you is imperative.