There are many ways to sponsor an alien. In the immigration field, the term "sponsor" often means to bring to the United States or "petition for". If you would like to sponsor, or petition for, a relative, please see the "Family" section of our site. If you would like to sponsor, or petition for, an employee, please see our "How Do I" Guides for Employers. If you would like to sponsor, or petition for, an overseas orphan, please refer to the information entitled "How Do I Immigrate an Adopted or Prospective Adopted Child or Help My Adopted Child Become a Citizen or Permanent Resident? (PDF, 230 KB)"
If you are a refugee or an asylee and wish to sponsor, or petition for a relative, please see our "How Do I" Guides for Refugees and Asylees page.
Another meaning of the term "sponsor" is a person who completes Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act. This type of sponsorship is not, however, the first step in any immigration process.
In order to be a sponsor and file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act, the following conditions must already be met:
- You have already petitioned for your relative;
- You have been notified that USCIS has approved the petition;
- The visa for that relative is currently available;
- The relative has been scheduled to appear to submit his or her application for an immigrant visa overseas to a Consular Officer or is preparing to file for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident (on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) in the United States. In the case of the overseas relative, you, the petitioner will be informed as to where and when to submit Form I-864. In the case where the relative is in the United States, you, the petitioner will complete Form I-864 and give it to your relative to file along with his or her application for permanent residency.
If you are a U.S. citizen and are sponsoring, or petitioning for, your spouse, parents or minor children who are currently in the United States, the above conditions do not need to be met in that exact order. Your relative may file his or her application for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident at the same time you file the relative petition. If this is your situation, you, the petitioner, must complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and the petition for your relative and give them to your relative to submit with the application for adjustment of status.