Jurisdiction: United States United States

In the immigration field, the term “sponsor” often means to bring to the United States or “petition for.” If you would like to sponsor a relative, please see the Family section of our website. If you would like to sponsor an employee, please see our How Do I Guides for Employers. If you would like to sponsor an overseas orphan, please our adoption brochure (PDF, 230.33 KB). If you are a refugee or an asylee and wish to sponsor a relative, please see our How Do I Guides for Refugees and Asylees webpage.

Another meaning of the term “sponsor” is a person who completes Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act. However, this type of sponsorship is not the first step in any immigration process. To be a sponsor and file Form I-864, the following conditions must already be met:

  • You have already petitioned for your relative;
  • We already notified you that we approved the petition;
  • The visa for your relative is currently available;
  • Your relative is scheduled to appear overseas at a U.S. Consulate to submit their application for an immigrant visa, 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. If your relative is overseas, we will notify you as to where and when to submit Form I-864. If your relative is in the United States, you must complete Form I-864 and give it to your relative to file along with their Form I-485.
Source: USCIS Glossary, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services