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IMMIGRATION

NEW 2009 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT


Gail S. Seeram
By GAIL S. SEERAM

Under the current immigration laws, every person who immigrants based on a family petition must have a financial sponsor. The law requires a sponsor to prove an income level at or above 125 percent (100 percent if active duty military personnel) of the federal poverty level. The newly released 2009 poverty guidelines are listed below. If your income does not meet the requirement, your assets such as checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, or property may be considered in determining your financial ability.

What is the purpose of the affidavit of support?

The affidavit of support helps ensure that new immigrants will not need to rely on public benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. If a person for whom you file an affidavit of support becomes a permanent resident and is later given certain public benefits, the agency that gave the benefits can require that you repay that money.

When does my financial responsibility end?

An affidavit of support is enforceable against the sponsor until the person they sponsored either becomes a U.S. citizen, or is credited with 40 quarters of works in the U.S. (usually 10 years), or leaves the U.S. permanently, or passes away.

Do I need to notify USCIS if I move?

If you financially sponsor someone, you are legally required to keep USCIS informed of your address until your financial responsibility ends. If you change your address, you will need to file a Form I-865, Sponsor's Notice of Change of Address, within 30 days after the date you move.

Gail S. Seeram, an immigration attorney, handles cases involving family petitions, business/investors visas, citizenship, deportation, asylum, work authorization and extension of status. Call her office toll- free at 1-877-GAIL-LAW (1-877-424-5529), send an email at gail@go2lawyer.com or visit www.go2lawyer.com



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