The sponsorship obligation continues until the immigrant:
- becomes a U.S. citizen;
- earns a cumulative total of at least 40 work quarters toward Social Security (about ten years);
- leaves the US permanently.
Keep in mind that someone who sponsors their spouse remains liable even if the couple divorce.
Until now it has been unusual for US immigration authorities to seek to hold a joint sponsor liable under Form I-864. In light of the Trump Administration’s increasing emphasis on refusing permanent residence applications based on “public charge” grounds, however, this state of affairs could change rapidly and dramatically.
If the sponsor moves during the validity of his I-864 obligations, he must report his new address to USCIS on Form I-865 within 30 days of relocation. Failure to do so can result in fines of between $250 and $2,000, or even up to $5,000 if the sponsor knows that the immigrant has collected public benefits. These fines do not relieve the sponsor of his original financial liability to the immigrant.