An immigration sponsor is a citizen or resident of a country who agrees to support or provide for an immigrant to the country. In many cases, a person can only become an immigration sponsor if he or she is a relative of the immigrant, but an employer may also be able to become an immigration sponsor in some cases. Immigration sponsorship is a very serious responsibility that may have very specific requirements; it is important to work with an immigration lawyer or government immigration bureau to make sure that all sponsorship requirements are fully understood and correct.
Different countries have varying rules on what allows a person to become an immigration sponsor. Many regions have detailed information on these guidelines available through an immigration website, as well as at regional government immigration offices. Forms for family or employment sponsorship are usually available from these resources as well. Some of the most common requirements to become an immigration sponsor include age, residency or citizenship requirements, income requirements, and a personal or professional relationship with the immigrant.
A person can often become an immigration sponsor for his or her spouse, children, or close relatives. The sponsor must be a citizen or permanent resident of the country, and must usually be over the age of consent. In some regions, the sponsor must have a permanent residence in the country, such as a house or apartment. Family-based immigration sponsorship is typically one of the most streamlined and simple immigration procedures, and can help ensure family continuity in a new nation.
Family sponsors must typically certify that they will support the immigrant financially until permanent residence or citizenship is granted. On submitted forms, sponsors will need to provide income and asset details that show they are capable of providing basic necessities for the new immigrant. This requirement is usually used to prevent overstress on public financial assistance intended for citizen use; by ensuring that the immigration sponsor can and will provide for the immigrant, the burden on the state to do so may be reduced. If the immigrant applies for and receives any state benefits, such as food stamps, the sponsors may be sued for the cost.
An employer can also sometimes become an immigration sponsor for a worker. In order to do so, he or she must be able to submit paperwork to immigration and labor officials detailing the nature of the job, why the immigrant is the best or only choice for the position, and why national recruitment efforts have failed. In addition to employee sponsorship, an immigrant may also be required to submit a request for a work visa that will allow him or her to work in the new county legally.