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Marriage-Based Immigration and Affidavit of Support Requirements (Part II)

204756_signing_the_contract.jpgIf your case is a marriage-based immigration case, chances are one of you will have to sign the Affidavit of Support portion of the application (also known as Form I-864). Parties are often surprised to find out that the Affidavit of Support is a legal, enforceable contract and not just a simple “form.” As an Austin Immigration Attorney, I have explained the details and consequences of this contract to many couples.

In my earlier blog titled “Marriage-Based Immigration and Affidavit of Support Requirements (Part I)” I discussed the meaning of Federal and State means-tested benefits. But an even more important question I often get is how long does the obligation under the Affidavit of Support lasts?

You may be surprised to know that once the Affidavit of Support is signed, the legal contract “sticks” and is enforceable until at least one of the following six things happen:

1. The immigrant becomes a U.S. Citizen; or
2. The immigrant has worked and can be credited with 40 quarters of coverage under the Social Security Act; or
3. The immigrant loses their permanent resident status and departs the United States; or
4. The immigrant becomes subject to removal and obtains a new grant of adjustment of status based on a different affidavit of support; or
5. The immigrant dies; or
6. The person who signs the Affidavit of Support dies. Although the deceased person’s estate can still be held liable for any support that was owed before the death occurred.

If what you just read makes you feel like the obligation is unreasonably long, you are not alone. A lot of people agree with you. What makes the Affidavit of Support even more difficult is that divorce does not terminate your obligations under the Affidavit of Support (I-864). That means that you are legally required to both support the intending immigrant at an income that is at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for his or her household size and you can be sued for reimbursement by a federal, state, or local agency for means-tested public benefits that are provided to the person who is sponsored. Although divorce typically severs a lot of joint obligations couples may have, it is not the case in immigration law. For that reason, it is very important to understand the details of the obligation involved.


Experienced and effective Austin immigration lawyer are aware that under the current state of the law, immigration determinations have a profound effect on individuals and families. We are ready to represent you. Call 24/7 at (512) 329-2770.