A lot of United States citizens and permanent residents have family members living in far-flung lands – and they’d like to bring those family members to this country.
If this resonates with you, you probably already know that you have to “sponsor” your relative by certifying that you’ll provide for their financial support until they earn 40 work credits through the Social Security Administration or they become a U.S. citizen.
What happens, however, if you don’t meet the financial criteria to sponsor your relative alone? This is where joint sponsorship may be necessary.
Why is sponsorship or joint sponsorship necessary?
Essentially, the federal government has an invested interest in making sure that immigrants don’t become an unexpected or unnecessary burden on the U.S. social and welfare system.
That’s why the income and assets of the primary sponsor are so heavily scrutinized. If your income falls below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, that’s when you’ll be asked to find a joint sponsor who is willing to share your commitment. This gives the U.S. government a built-on “backup plan” in case you’re income isn’t enough. Your relative may also need a joint sponsor if you’re self-employed or you counted o non-U.S. income to qualify.
It’s important to understand that sponsorship of a family member for immigration creates a legal contract between the joint sponsors and the federal government. Any change in a sponsor’s financial circumstance can, potentially, be considered a material change in circumstances that could affect your family member’s future.
Because there are a lot of weighty issues that often have to be considered when you’re trying to bring a family member in from abroad, experienced legal guidance that’s tailored to your needs is always wise.