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USCIS Proposal Limits who can file an Affidavit of Support & Expands Documentation Requirement

Posted October 1, 2020Cheryl Kilborn - Sr. AssociateGreen Card

In September 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched a “sponsor deeming” and “agency reimbursement” initiative to enable agencies that administer federal means-tested benefits with information sharing resources to ensure more effective compliance with laws that apply when a financial sponsor executes an enforceable Affidavit of Support on behalf of a sponsored immigrant.

Today, USCIS announced a proposed rule that would require financial sponsors to demonstrate they can maintain the required income to support a sponsored immigrant by submitting the following additional information:

  • Credit report
  • Credit score
  • Certified copies of income tax returns for the last three years
  • Bank account information

Other proposed changes include:

  • Eliminating the subpoena requirement before USCIS can provide certain information to benefit-granting agencies and other parties authorized to pursue civil action against defaulting sponsors
  • Limiting the type/number of household members who can file an enforceable Affidavit of Support
  • Requiring a joint sponsor if the petitioning financial sponsor has either received a means-tested public benefit him/herself within three years of submitting an Affidavit of Support, or who has defaulted on previous obligations to support a sponsored immigrant

USCIS currently requires that all financial sponsors provide the following financial evidence:

  • Copy of individual Federal income tax return, including W-2s for the most recent tax year (or most recent three tax years if available), or a statement and/or evidence describing the reason for not being required to file
  • A copy of every Form 1099, Schedule, and any other evidence of reported income
  • Pay stubs from the most recent six months, and/or an employment confirmation letter (if helpful)
  • Copy of birth certificate, passport, or certificate of naturalization of U.S. citizen/national financial sponsor
  • If using assets, documentation of assets establishing location, ownership, date of acquisition, and value (including evidence of any liens or liabilities against the assets)

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on October 2, 2020, with a 30-day comment period.

If you are a financial sponsor, are thinking about sponsoring an individual, or are a sponsored immigrant and have questions about how these changes may affect you, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney or contact us at consultation@meltzerhellrung.com