1. Resources
  2. Glossary
  3. Sponsor

In the context of US immigration, the verb "Sponsor" means bring a foreign national to the United States. The noun "Sponsor" means the person or the organization petitioning for foreign relatives, overseas adopted orphans or employees.

Who can be a sponsor?

To sponsor an immigrant to come to the United States, you must sign an affidavit of support. The sponsor normally is the petitioner of the beneficiary. To be a sponsor, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (depending on the visa type, permanent residents may be excluded)
  • Have a domicile in the U.S.
  • Meet the minimum income requirement or have a joint sponsor

What are a sponsor's responsibilities?

Once a person signs the affidavit of support, they have taken legal responsibility for financially supporting the beneficiary. For example, if the person you sponsored becomes a public charge and accepts "means-tested" public benefits from government, such as food stamps or Medicaid, the government has jurisdiction to come after you to reimburse the treasury for those expenses.

The legal responsibility ends when one of the following situations occur:

  • The immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen
  • The immigrant works (and pays taxes) for 40 quarters (10 years if continuous)
  • The immigrant or sponsor dies

*Note: Divorce does NOT end the sponsor's responsibilities.

Joint Sponsors (Co-Sponsors)

If the primary sponsor doesn't have enough income to meet the requirements, they may need to utilize a joint sponsor. See Joint Sponsor for more information.