USCIS Highlights Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens

Guidelines for Affidavits of Support

The May 2019 Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens emphasizes that certain requirements apply to you if you have sponsored (or will sponsor) an immigrant, or if you have otherwise agreed to make your income and assets available to help sponsor the immigrant, by filing:

Since 1997, U.S. immigration law has required an alien’s sponsor to sign an Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act, pledging financial support for the sponsored immigrant. By signing and submitting this affidavit or a Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, you agree to use your financial resources to support the immigrants named on the forms and to reimburse the cost of any means-tested public benefits that the sponsored alien receives while your obligation is in effect. 

Reimbursing Means-Tested Public Benefits

Sometimes, sponsored immigrants apply for and receive means-tested public benefits from federal, state, local or tribal agencies. Means-tested public benefits include Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the State Child Health Insurance Program. See 8 CFR 2131.1.  

Sponsored immigrants may be ineligible for certain means-tested public benefits because the agency will consider your resources and assets, and those of your household members, when determining the immigrant’s eligibility for the benefits. This is called “income deeming.”

However, if an immigrant named on your affidavit of support receives a means-tested public benefit while the affidavit is enforceable, you, as the sponsor, will be responsible for reimbursing the agency providing the benefit. If you do not reimburse the agency, the agency can obtain a court order for repayment.

For more information on income deeming and reimbursement policies, see guidance issued for the following programs:

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