My sister asked me if I can sponsor her in order for her to fix her immigration status, I wanted to know that if I will ALWAYS be responsible for her or only for a certain amount of time?
Until one of the following occurs:
The person for whom the I-864 was filed has accumulated 40 qualifying quarters of work in the United States.
The person for whom the I-864 was filed becomes a US citizen.
The person for whom the I-864 was filedreturns abroad and no longer is a Legal Permanent Resident.
The person for whom the I-864 was filed dies.
The person who filed the I-864 dies.
Here is what the regulation says: 8 CFR § 213a.2:
2)(i) The support obligation and the change of address reporting requirement imposed on a sponsor, substitute sponsor and joint sponsor under Form I-864, and any household member's support obligation under Form I-864A, all terminate by operation of law when the sponsored immigrant:
(A) Becomes a citizen of the United States;
(B) Has worked, or can be credited with, 40 qualifying quarters of coverage under title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 401, et seq., provided that the sponsored immigrant is not credited with any quarter beginning after December 31, 1996, during which the sponsored immigrant receives or received any Federal means-tested public benefit;
(C) Ceases to hold the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence and departs the United States (if the sponsored immigrant has not filed USCIS Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, this provision will apply only if the sponsored immigrant is found in a removal proceeding to have abandoned that status while abroad);
(D) Obtains in a removal proceeding a new grant of adjustment of status as relief from removal (in this case, if the sponsored immigrant is still subject to the affidavit of support requirement under this part, then any individual(s) who signed the Form I-864 or I-864A in relation to the new adjustment application will be subject to the obligations of this part, rather than those who signed a Form I-864 or I-864A in relation to an earlier grant of admission as an immigrant or of adjustment of status); or
(ii) The support obligation under Form I-864 also terminates if the sponsor, substitute sponsor or joint sponsor dies. A household member's obligation under Form I-864A terminates when the household member dies. The death of one person who had a support obligation under a Form I-864 or Form I-864A does not terminate the support obligation of any other sponsor, substitute sponsor, joint sponsor, or household member with respect to the same sponsored immigrant.
(3) The termination of the sponsor's, substitute sponsor's, or joint sponsor's obligations under Form I-864 or of a household member's obligations under Form I-864A does not relieve the sponsor, substitute sponsor, joint sponsor, or household member (or their respective estates) of any reimbursement obligation under section 213A(b) of the Act and this section that accrued before the support obligation terminated.
I agree with all of the previous responses, but I would also urge you to review the affidavit of support to see exactly what you are "responsible" for. Signing the affidavit of support opens you to very limited financial responsibilities relating to reimbursing (if they ever pursue it) unlawfully gained means tested public benefits (i.e. welfare). It doesn't put you on the hook for the persons entire financial support or any debts/medical bills/etc. that they may acquire in the US.
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