What are the Legal Responsibility of Spouse Visa Guarantor ?

Answers to your qestions about moving to, and living in, Peru,
Milan
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What are the Legal Responsibility of Spouse Visa Guarantor ?

Postby Milan » Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:07 pm

Hello Everybody....

After 2 years of dating, my girlfriend's Peruvian sister got married in Lima to an American citizen. They filed all the required paperwork with US and Peruvian officials to legalize her status and to allow her to move to the US. There seemed to be no problem and all went smoothly.

Now, 22 months later, she is still in Lima and he is in New York. No news about her US visa nor about the progress of her paperwork. Her husband keeps flying back to Lima once a month for visits. Now, he has been notified by the US Immigration office in New York, that he needs a "guarantor" for his Peruvian wife in order to issue her long-awaited entry visa. So he phoned me asking me to be her guarantor.

I have absolutely no idea what it is all about. I have never heard of such a thing. I was under impression that once you marry somebody, no guarantee is needed. Am I wrong here ? What am I asked to guarantee ? I don't understand it a bit. What will be my legal responsibilities once I sign such a guarantorship ?

I am US citizen, living full time in the USA. I know her sister for about 5 years - but I don't know too much about their relationship to put my neck on chopping block for them. Also, I have not seen the paperwork he wants me to sign.

I would greatly appreciate if you could comment on this and hopefully some of you will have the knowledge regarding this issue.

Appreciate your responses !
Last edited by Milan on Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby jude » Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:44 am

I know a little about this as I got a green card through marriage a few years ago.

It sounds like you're being asked to sign form I-130 Affidavit of Support. Here's a copy http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-134.pdf

It is one of the forms that needs to be filed to bring an alien spouse to the US. Basically whoever signs it states that they're willing to financially support the person so they don't go on welfare, collect food stamps, etc for some number of years. If they do the state can sue you to get the money back, as you have legally agreed to be financially responsible for her.

Usually the spouse would sign the form, and provide all the income and assets information. Is the husband very poor? If not he should meet the income guidelines and not need your help. If he is really poor then I don't see why he wouldn't be asking a relative or close friend to help him out rather than you. Frankly it seems shady and I wouldn't do it.
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naturegirl
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Postby naturegirl » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:03 am

Basically, you're responsible for his wife monetarily. Paying her debts if she skips out. I wouldn't do it either. After 22 months, he should be making enough to sign it himself, I think it's only like 15K usd that you have to prove you make.
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Postby inscop » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:12 pm

Would you co-sign a loan for $50,000 for this guy? I didn't think so. Co-signer means co-debtor, which is basically the same deal as this. Will the government REALLY come after you? Unknown, but as long as that lad cannot afford to keep this gal, you will be responsible for her.

I don't think I would go along with this program. Tell the young fellow that he should wait patiently and when he can support her on his own, he should continue the process.
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Kelly
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Postby Kelly » Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:07 pm

This website has the information you're looking for.

http://www.us-visa-now.com/qaa_16.htm


When you sign the Affidavit of Support, you accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant(s) until they become U.S. citizens or can be credited with 40 quarters of work. Any joint sponsors or household members whose income is used to meet the minimum income requirements are also legally responsible for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant. If the immigrant receives any "means-tested public benefits," you are responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them. If you do not repay the debt, the agency can sue you in court to get the money owed. When in doubt, ask the benefit provider whether the benefit is a "means-tested public benefit."


As far as I know, you are NOT responsible for paying back personal loans, car loans or mortgage loans that they may take out. It is only a way to insure that the immigrant won't be on the 'public dole'.

Additionally -

http://www.visalaw.com/01oct2/12oct201.html

A provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 created a new Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, which creates a legal obligation on behalf of the person who signs it. This legal obligation means that the sponsored immigrant, the federal government or any state government can sue the sponsor if the sponsor fails to support the immigrant. The Affidavit is enforceable either until the immigrant naturalizes or has worked for ten years.

++++++

In the event the primary sponsor does not earn enough, a co-sponsor can be used. This is done on Form I-864A. The co-sponsor must be a family member of the primary sponsor by birth, marriage, or adoption. The co-sponsor becomes legally obligated to provide the same support as the primary sponsor and the obligation does not end until the immigrant’s naturalization or until the immigrant has worked for ten years.


For complete information, I'd recommend going to http://www.visajourney.com/faq/k1faq.htm . A LOT of people have received help through this website - they have a lot of people there who know what they're talking about.
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Postby american_in_lima » Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:48 pm

You have to make sure that you trust this person with your life.

I was a co-guarantor for a great friend of mine. The problem is if she breaks her visa, (who knows, maybe they get divorced and she stays in the US after a couple of years).

You are responsible for medical bills and any aid that she receives. Here is the reason why you need to be careful. Not sure if the law has changed, but you could be fined $100,000 and also be put in prison for 10 years.
Not sure if they enforce this, but still, that's a big risk.

Me personally, I would not do it.

He should find someone in his own family yo be a guarantor for her.

George
Regards,

George
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Postby tupacperu » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:39 pm

There is a schedule of income that dictates the poverty level. Any one making below that amount needs an additional sponsor. The sponsor can either join the income or sponsor his wife totally. Does the wife have kids on the petitition? that would raise the income from $15K to about $5k per kid (may have changed)


The other part is a divorce, depending on state law, the sponsor may be liable if the wife ends up on welfare etc.....
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Postby tupacperu » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:53 pm

Sounds like the guy does not meet the income requirements. If he has alimony and child support from a previous marriage, that will affect his Affidavit of Support.

He may do better living in Peru. The wife will be moving from a 3rd world country to a NY Barrio or with the guys family.

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Postby Milan » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:01 pm

Thank you all for all the great responses. I read them all very carefully. I also read the attached links.

Just to answer your questions: No she doesn't have any children. Also, I was under impression that he earns lot more than 15K a year. At least that's what is the income level of the type of job he does. She doesn't want to even hear about living in Lima. She wants to leave Peru as soon as she is permitted to and live in the US with her new husband.

Now, when I am somewhat educated on the subject, I think I will have to call him and ask lots of questions. I don't even know anybody who makes 15K nor can I imagine somebody can survive on 15K in NY.

Even though I would like to help them, I think it is way too big responsibility for me to take and I am leaning towards not doing it. I agree, it is something you should ask your close family member to do ...

Great site ! Thank you all for your help !

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