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What is Public Charge Rule?

On February 24, 2020, USCIS implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule except in Illinois.

The rule requires applicants for adjustment of status who are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility and certain applicants and petitioners seeking extension of stay and change of status to report certain information related to public benefits. 

An alienwho is likely at any time to become a public charge is generally inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a lawful permanent resident.

The rule defines public charge as an alien who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period ( such that, for instance receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).

The USCIS adjudicating officers review the totality of an alien's circumstances when deciding whether an applicant is likely at any time to be come a public charge. The officer must consider the applicant's:

  • age;

  • health; 

  • family status;

  • assets, resources, and financial status;

  • education and skills

  • prospective immigration status

  • expected period of admission; and 

  • sufficient Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the INA

Department of Homeland Security will consider the following public benefits:

  • Supplemental Security Income;

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;

  • Any federal, state, local or tribal cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called general assistance in the state context)

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called food stamps);

  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program;

  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation);

    • Public Housing (under the Housing Act of 1927, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et. seq); and

    • Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusions).

Department of Homeland Security will not consider the following:

  • Emergency medical assistance;

  • disaster relief;

  • National school lunch program;

  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children;

  • The Children's Health Insurance Program;

  • Subsidies for foster care and adoption;

  • Government-subsidized student and mortgage loans;

  • Energy Assistance;

  • Food pantries and homeless shelters; and

  • Head Start.

What types of evidence are required now under the Public Charge Rule?

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