2020 Public Charge Rule - Breakdown

Starting February 24, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will start implementing the Public Charge Rule.

  1. What is the Public Charge Rule?
  • Immigrants wanting Permanent Residence in the U.S. have to demonstrate that they are not likely to become a public charge. This rule has always existed.
  • The new rule changed the public charge definition to say that anyone who has used public benefits for 12 months in a 36 month period is considered a public charge.
  • As part of the updated rule, immigrants will now need to submit form I-944 with their adjustment applications. Form I-944 can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-944
  1. Who does the Public Charge Rule affect?
  • Anyone applying for Adjustment of Status (those submitting form I-485) will need to demonstrate that they are not likely to become a public charge in the U.S.
  1. Who does the Public Charge Rule NOT affect?
  • Refugees
  • Asylum Applicants
  • Certain U-Visa, T-Visa, and other crime based applicants
  • VAWA Self petitioners
  1. What benefits are considered “bad” for purposes of the public charge rule?
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash benefit programs for income maintenance (Cash Assitance)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps);
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance;
  • Public Housing
  • Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusions).
  1. Will they only look at whether benefits were used or not?
  • NO!
  • Benefits used are only one part of the public charge determination
  • USCIS will also look at an applicant’ s:
    • Age
    • Health
    • Family Status
    • Education and Skills
    • Prospective Immigration Status
    • Sponsor financials using form I-864

Remember, this is general information. If you have more questions about how the public charge rule and your case specifically you can call us and schedule a consultation at: 303-317-5516.

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