Travel Insurance

Is the Visa Sponsor Liable for a Visitor’s Unpaid Bills?

Is the Visa Sponsor Liable for a Visitor’s Unpaid Bills?

If you’re considering becoming a U.S. visa sponsor or if you already are one, you might be wondering about the responsibility for your visitor’s unpaid bills. Here is some useful information for those who are considering sponsoring a U.S. visa for their parents, or who are either seeking a visitor visa, legal permanent resident status, or student visa. The sponsorship document, form I-134, also referred as “Affidavit of Support” can be legally enforceable.

What Does an I-134 Form Enforce?

The I-134 is a contract between the sponsor and the U.S. government stating that the sponsor will be responsible for the visitor/beneficiary while that person is in the U.S. You’ll want to make sure you have the financial means to support the visitor for the duration of their stay. This includes basic amenities to support their living and welfare in the U.S. which includes food, boarding, clothing, and healthcare.

If the person you are sponsoring becomes a public charge or government’s liability, then the agency offering assistance can sue to recover the cost. This should be stated on your I-134 document.

If your visitor seeks medical services from the healthcare provider, and fails to pay the medical bills, you, as the sponsor, can be held responsible for these unpaid expenses. The service provider/hospital runs its services from the public funds. So, if you’re sponsoring a visitor to the U.S., be cautious when filling out the affidavit of support. Unpaid medical bills can be a disaster both financially and emotionally. This means a significant level of stress and could even lead to bankruptcy.

Tips for U.S. Visa Sponsors

  1. Avoid risky propositions: Make sure that the person you are considering sponsoring is responsible and trustworthy. This includes making sure they do not overstay their visa term.
  2. Tell the truth: Carefully enter all the information on the form accurately and honestly. This will help prevent any discrepancies in future. Make sure you have all the documentation needed to verify that the information entered on the form is correct.
  3. Protect yourself: Make sure that you and the person you’re sponsoring have adequate insurance coverage for travel and healthcare during the entire period of stay. This will not only help protect against emergency, but will also buy you peace of mind. You can find many great options for visitors insurance at VisitorsCoverage.

To learn about how travel insurance with good medical coverage can help protect you in time of emergency, check out our travel insurance plans or connect with our award-winning Customer Success Team. You can also find out more about what to do when you don’t have insurance or if the medical service isn’t covered by your insurance policy.