In many of the green card applications we handle, clients often require an additional sponsor to meet the financial requirements to be eligible to obtain lawful permanent residents. Not long ago, USCIS published a proposed rule change affecting this process. This is in addition to the public charge rule.
What is a Green Card Sponsor?
A person, or persons, who has represented to the U.S. government that they will take economic responsibility of an immigrant, and who has agreed to:
Provide support to the sponsored immigrant at an annual income of, in most cases,
not less than 125 percent of the Federal poverty line during the period the support obligation is in effect;
- To be jointly and severally liable for any reimbursement obligation incurred as a result of the sponsored immigrant receiving any means-tested public benefits during the period the obligation is in effect; and
- To submit to the jurisdiction of any Federal or State court for the purpose of enforcing any of the support obligation under INA section 213A.
Previously a sponsor just had to promise that they would be willing to provide at least 125% of the federal poverty level to their sponsored immigrant, as well as answering a couple other questions in an affidavit of support. But now the government is proposing a new rule, which would require Green Card sponsors to not only promise their support, but prove they have the means to provide it by supplying their bank account information.
A notice regarding this was published in The Federal Register on April 10, 2020. Once published as a notice, the general public has 30 days in which to respond with comments. That time period expires on May 11, 2020.
Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, is the document that USCIS is attempting to change the requirements for. Officially, USCIS states it is trying to evaluate “whether the individual executing the Affidavit of Support meets the definition of a sponsor, can demonstrate the means to maintain income at the required income threshold, and otherwise meets the requirements of section 213A of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1183a), and ensures that basic information required to assess eligibility is provided by sponsors.
Individuals signing the I-864A would be required to provide their bank account information and an optional credit report. Along with the option for a sponsor to include a credit report with the Affidavit, under the rule USCIS would require that Form I-864A, Form I-864, and Form I-864EZ are all notarized prior to submission to the agency. We are monitoring this proposed regulation closely and will provide more information as it becomes available.