Are you domiciled in the U.S.?

When you are petitioning for your foreign national family member, one of the requirements you must prove to the government is that your family member will not become a public charge after admission into the U.S.  This means that once granted permanent resident status, your foreign national family member will not need public assistance.  This is accomplished by filing the required Form I-864: Affidavit of Support.

To qualify as a sponsor or joint sponsor, you must be:

  • a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident;
  • at least 18 years of age; and
  • domiciled in the United States

The first two bullet points are self-explanatory, but that term “domiciled in the United States” causes many issues and in some cases denials.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) defines the term “domicile” as the place where a person has a residence that he or she intends to maintain for the foreseeable future.  If a petitioner/sponsor actually lives and works in the U.S. then this is not an issue.

The problem arises when the petitioner/sponsor lives abroad.  The petitioner may still be able to sponsor a foreign national if they can can re-establish domicile in the U.S. on or before the foreign national’s admission into the U.S. as a green card holder.  The petitioner/sponsor  must demonstrate  by a preponderance of the evidence that they intend to establish a U.S. domicile by showing:

  • Obtaining employment in the U.S.;
  • Registering children in U.S. schools;
  • Selling residences abroad;
  • Establishing a mailing address in the U.S.;
  • Providing a rent/mortgage agreement in the U.S; and/or
  • Maintaining and actively using bank accounts in the U.S.

Please note: If the petitioner is unable to qualify as a sponsor because they do not meet the domicile requirement, a joint sponsor cannot be authorized to overcome this deficiency.  This means the applicant’s green card petition would be denied.

For further information on re-establishing your U.S. domicile or to determine if you would otherwise qualify as a sponsor, please contact Berardi Immigration Law today!

Write a Reply or Comment