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Affidavit of Support for Immigrant Petition, need clarifications on who can be liable later on.

Sacramento, CA |

My spouse is planning to petition his parents to join him here in CA as immigrants. Now, I understand he needs to sign an affidavit of support for both his parents. Since he make decent income, he can just do the affidavit himself. Now, if it turns out that both his parents later on will accumulate unavoidable medical expenses(knock on the woods) later on since they are old already, and accumulate huge hospital bills, can they run after me and perhaps issue a wage garnishment if needed being the spouse of the petitioner in CA? What is the law in CA regarding this affidavit of support? I'm worried since I know in CA it is a community property so if a spouse has debt, they can ran after the other of what he owe but not sure about immigrant petition. Please help clarify CA atty!

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Attorney answers 4


There are clear federal regulations on how and when the federal government can pursue the promisor on an Affidavit of Support. A lot of times, I can tell you the federal government will do nothing to enforce the Affidavit. (That is not to say your husband should bet on this though, because they will enforce sometimes, if they want or if there is good reason). It's one of those unpredictable things. In any case, to answer your question, the answer is really in federal law, and not in any California law. Sorry I could not provide a more concrete answer on this, since the answer itself is nebulous.


The petitioner and signer of the I-864 is promising the government that beneficiaries will not become a public charge. Petitioner will be liable for Cash Payments received from the government. Emergency medical is not considered cash payments.


Affidavits of Support are contracts with the US government wherein the person who signed them agrees to reimbures the Federal government for the costs of certain means tested benefits, if the immigrant requires and is given those benefits. The US government can sue to obtain that reimbursement.

Affidavits of Support cannot be withdrawn once accepted by the government. They remain in effect until one of the following events take place:
1. The person for whom it was filed has legally worked for 40 quarters in the US.
2. The person for whom it was filed becomes a US citizen.
3. The person for whom it was filed permanently leaves the US.
4. The person for whom it was filed dies.
5. The person who submitted the Affidavit of Support dies.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


The answer to this question is rather complex and somewhat difficult to answer within the confines of this space.

However, as stated by my fellow colleagues, an i-864 is a contract between the SPONSOR and the U.S. Gov't. The contract states, in simple terms, that if the sponsored immigrant receives certain forms of public benefits, the Gov't agency providing those benefits may sue the sponsor to recover the value of those benefits.

That being said, recovery from the sponsor may be levied against the SPONSOR's income and any assets owned by him or her, presumably up to the extent of his/her ownership interest.

If you choose to do so, you may CHOOSE to be jointly responsible. To do so, you would complete form i-864A (Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member) and submit it concurrently, along with any required supporting documentation, with the i-864.

Please proceed cautiously and consider sitting down to discuss your situation with an attorney familiar with both property and immigration law.

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