How to Write a Letter to Sponsor Someone for U.S. Citizenship

by Teo Spengler

Don't ever underestimate the importance of money in this society. Sponsoring someone for U.S. citizenship requires more than a simple letter discussing why the person should be given the opportunity to be a citizen. A letter, no matter how eloquent or persuasive, won't get you very far with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You'll need to sign an Affidavit of Support that obligates you to provide financial support for that person until she becomes a citizen, usually around five years.

Tips

  • To sponsor an immigrant who wants to live in the U.S.permanently, you must fill out an affidavit of support, Form I-134 or I-864. By signing and filing the form, you obligate yourself to provide financial support for that person.

Sponsoring an Immigrant

If you decide to sponsor an immigrant who seeks to live permanently in the United States, you must fill out and sign an affidavit of support. Often people sponsor their relatives for permanent residency in the U.S. (called a green card). But the affidavit can be used for anyone you are sponsoring. In the affidavit, you do not discuss the person's principals or morals. Rather, you promise that the person seeking citizenship will not become a public charge. To back up that promise, you agree to look after and support that person financially during the citizenship process, some five years.

The role of a citizenship sponsor is not to provide a reference as to the person's character. Rather, you serve as the person's indemnification. The government is concerned about immigrants being unable to support themselves and therefore requiring money from government assistance programs. Your sponsorship guarantees that this will not happen.

Assuming Liability

It is important to understand the liability you assume by sponsoring someone for citizenship. As the sponsor, you will have to pay back any money the government spends for the new citizen. The government or the immigrant can sue you if you fail to keep your word.

The form can be called I-134 or I-834 depending on the circumstance of the person you are sponsoring. Check with the Immigration Office to determine which is appropriate. In the affidavit, you swear under penalty of perjury that you are financially stable and wish to sponsor the immigrant. You must give personal information about yourself and your dependents, as well as your financial assets. You must also give information about the immigrant you are sponsoring. You may be asked to attend an interview at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service office when your affidavit is reviewed.

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About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between French Basque Country and California.