Ask yourself this "why should the government go through all the troubles of asking people to fill out forms that do 'not matter'?" While the government does sometimes seem to ask people to do things that seem to make little or no sense, there is a purpose in asking someone to sign the affidavit of support. The government wants to be able to sue the person signing the affidavit of support if the intending immigrant gets certain government benefits.
The form your friend is asking you to sign likely is the Form I-864, affidavit of support. The forms are free at www.uscis.gov .
You should carefully review the form. You should review the specific facts with your attorney to see what you are getting into. If you sign the form, as noted on the form, the intending immigrant can sue you to obtain the support you promise.
If you sign an I-864 Affidavit of Support and the person is granted permanent resident status, you will be indefinitely financially responsible for him. Do not sign anything without fully understanding what you are getting into and conferring with an attorney.
Scott D. Pollock
Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.
105 W. Madison, Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60602
fax: (312) 444-1950
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The Affidavit of Support your friend wants you to sign, includes a contract in which you promise to pay the government back if your friend receives any "means-tested public assistance." Some people call this "welfare" but it is actually more than that.
This contract continues until your friend works and pays into Social Security for 10 years, or becomes a US citizen.
It is a very big deal. Talk to an immigration lawyer before you sign.
Law Office of Lamar Peckham
555 Sebastopol Rd., Ste. C
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
--20 year member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association--
--Practicing immigration law before USCIS, the Immigration Court, Board of Immigration Appeals, Federal District Courts, US Courts of Appeals. Admitted to practice in the US Supreme Court--
If you are asking about your exact responsibilities under the affidavit of support, then you can read the form to find the wording. But, in brief, you are promising that if your friend illegally obtain certain government benefits (i.e. welfare, food stamps, etc) you will repay those amounts to the government if they sue you. As such any liability you would have is pretty limited because the amount of benefits a person could obtain from the government is very limited. The affidavit of support does not make you liable for his person debts, medical bills, credit cards, etc. The decision to sponsor him is totally up to you.