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Can Your US Citizen Friend Sponsor Your Green Card Application?

3.25 minute read
"Do you have a really good friend who is a United States citizen? Do you think they will be willing to sponsor your Green Card application? The US understands the value of friendship and how some friends can mean almost as much as family."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Aug 30, 2021
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Do you have a really good friend who is a United States citizen? Do you think they will be willing to sponsor your Green Card application? The US understands the value of friendship and how some friends can mean almost as much as family. 

Therefore, the US government allows a US citizen to financially sponsor their friend’s immigrant petition with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. While only a family member can petition for your Green Card application, your friend can provide support as a “co-sponsor.” 

If you are still abroad, your US citizen friend can financially support your petition by filing Form I-864 when you are at the US embassy or consulate. If you are already present in the US, then they can file Form I-864 with your application for Adjustment of Status.

However, as a US citizen sponsoring your friend, you will be required to meet certain requirements to become their financial sponsor. You must also understand your responsibilities. If your sponsor receives any social benefits, then you will be responsible to repay the US government. However, you are not liable for any of their debts or credit card or medical bills. 

What Federal Benefits Will Make You Liable to the US Government?

While immigrants are generally prohibited from receiving any social aid from the government. If your sponsor receives benefits from the following means-tested public benefits programs, you will become financially liable to the US government:

  • Food stamps
  • Medicaid
  • State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Excluded Government Assistance Programs

However, your immigrant friend can freely accept the following benefits without resulting in any liability to you:

  • Emergency Medicaid
  • Head Start Programs
  • Short-term, non-cash emergency relief
  • Job Training Partnership Act programs
  • Immunizations, testing, and treatment for communicable diseases
  • Benefits provided under the National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Acts
  • Receiving certain types of foster care or assistance for adoption under the Social Security Act
  • Access to Means-tested programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
  • Receiving Student Assistance under the Higher Education Act and the Public Health Service Act

What Are the Income Requirements to Become a Financial Sponsor for an Immigrant Friend?

You will be required to meet certain income requirements to become a financial sponsor to your immigrant friend. These income requirements include a household income of more than 125% of the US poverty level for your household size. The USCIS has the following guidelines to assess the income requirement:

Number of People in the household

Income Requirement

2

$20,575

3

$25,975

4`

$31,375

5

$36,775

6

$42,175

7

$47,575


For every additional member, an amount of $5,400 is added. If you are on active duty in the US Armed Forces, then you are granted extra leeway which allows you to present income equal to the US poverty level for your household size instead of adding a 25% premium.

How to File an Affidavit of Support?

You will be required to complete Form I-864 and sign it in the presence of a notary public to get it notarized. Then you must print a copy of your most recent federal tax return and W-2 to verify your annual income and provide proof of employment. It helps if you include income tax returns of up to 3 years and 6 months of pay stubs and a letter from your employer affirming your income.

Based on your income and situation, you will be required to provide the following documents:

  • A copy of your Schedule C, D, E or F from the most recent federal income tax return if you are self-employed
  • Proof of active military status if you are on active duty with the US Armed Forces
  • A completed Form I-864A if you are using the income of other household members
  • Proof of relationship to the household member who is not listed as a dependent if you are using their income
  • Proof of employment of the immigrant if they are a co-sponsor on their petition
  • Documentation of ownership, acquisition and location of personal assets if you are relying on their fair market value to meet the income requirements, including their lien or liability
  • Proof of citizenship status
  • A copy of Form I-551 and Green Card if you are a permanent resident
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