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An immigration affidavit is a written statement by a third party that attests to facts concerning the status of a person who wants to become a citizen or permanent resident of another country. The person signing the affidavit is considered a sponsor of the immigrant and signs the statement under oath. Countries that use this type of affidavit require it to be submitted to the country’s immigration service as part of the immigrant’s application for residency.
Affidavits are a common way of placing written statements of fact into evidence in legal matters. A person signing an affidavit is swearing to the veracity of the included facts to the best of his knowledge. He signs the statement under oath and subject to penalties of perjury, so the affidavit has much the same weight as in-person testimony in court. An immigration affidavit can be of differing types, address various subject matters, and be relevant in any jurisdiction, dependent wholly on the country’s particular immigration laws.
In the U.S., there are three types of common immigration affidavits. A spousal affidavit is prepared by a U.S. citizen to assert that a non-citizen is his legal spouse in support of the non-citizen’s application for a visa. Third-party affidavits are submitted by witnesses to the marriage between the citizen and the spouse, asserting the legitimate existence of the relationship. Affidavits of support are submitted by U.S. citizens, typically family members or employers, who are willing to sponsor an immigrant and guarantee to provide support for that person if the person is unable to support himself.
A signed immigration affidavit is usually an indispensable part of the immigrant’s application for a visa. In the case of an affidavit of support, the U.S. will not issue a visa unless the immigrant can find a sponsor willing to accept that responsibility. Affidavits in immigration cases are serious matters with long-range responsibilities and potential penalties if misrepresentations are made. An affidavit of support, for example, commits a sponsor to the support of a person until the person becomes a U.S. citizen or works for ten years. A third-party affidavit in support of a marriage can subject a person to prison time if the marriage is proven fraudulent and the witness was aware of that fact.
An immigration affidavit can typically conform to any reasonable format. The main features require the identification of the person making the statement, a description of the facts as they are or the facts as they were directly observed, and the signature of the witness. Typically, the affidavit must be signed usually under oath in front of a notary or other officer of the court.
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