As of February 24, 2020, USCIS will subject all applications for Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing to the enhanced Public Charge Rule.  The new rule will expand how the government proposes to enforce a determination of whether or not a foreign national is a “public charge.”  A “public charge” is someone who is likely to need financial assistance from the U.S. government.

The new rule requires Applicants to provide additional information about their health, family, education, income, assets, liabilities, receipt of any public benefits, and an Affidavit of Support from their financial sponsor. If an Applicant is found inadmissible as a Public Charge, she may be able to pay a bond and change her status.

The following benefits are problematic under the Public Charge Rule:

  • Cash Assistance for Income Maintenance (includes TANF, SSI, and federal, state, and local assistance programs)
  • SNAP or Food Stamps
  • Medicaid (with exceptions listed below)
  • Housing Assistance (Public Housing or Section 8)
  • Housing Vouchers and Rental Assistance)
  • Benefits received by the immigrant’s family members
  • Benefits received by U.S. Armed Forces Service Members
  • Emergency medical assistance
  • Medicaid received by (1) children under 21; (2) during pregnancy or within 60 days of pregnancy; or (3) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Heath Insurance under the Affordable Care Act
  • Social Security and Medicare
  • WIC
  • CHIP
  • Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
  • Pell grants and student loans
  • Worker’s Compensation or Unemployment Benefits
  • Tax-related cash benefits

Common Exceptions to the Public Charge Rule:

  • Asylees and Refugees
  • Applicants for U or T Nonimmigrant Status
  • VAWA Self-Petitioners
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles
  • Applicants seeking Temporary Protected Status
  • Applicants under the Cuban Adjustment Act
  • S. citizens, including naturalized citizens
  • Lawful Permanent Residents

For more information concerning the Public Charge Rule and how it may affect your application, please contact our office to schedule a one-on-one consultation.