National Immigration Law Center
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Our mission is to defend & advance the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.

Public Charge

Compose

"PUBLIC CHARGE" IS A TERM USED by U.S. immigration officials to refer to a person who is considered primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense. Where this consideration applies, an immigrant who is found to be "likely . . . to become a public charge" may be denied admission to the U.S. or lawful permanent resident status.


Materials by NILC & California Immigrant Policy Center

Public Charge: An Overview (PDF)

What is “public charge”? | How does the government decide whether a person is likely to become a public charge? | What is the background of “public charge” policy? | Why is receipt of noncash benefits not subject to “public charge” consideration?


Federal Guidance on Public Charge: When Is It Safe to Use Public Benefits?

Inmigrantes y la clasificación de “carga pública”

  • National edition - Spanish (3/10, PDF)
    (Note that this Spanish-language edition is dated prior to the latest English-language edition of this document and does not incorporate the latest updates made to the English edition.)


Will Using Benefits Hurt My Chances of Getting a Green Card or Becoming a U.S. Citizen?

By the Asian Pacific American Legal Center for the California Immigrant Policy Center and a consortium of national groups (2-page flyer for client outreach).

California version: All brochures except "Chinese" dated 4/12/02; Chinese brochure dated 8/23/06. Links to "Lao" and "Thai" are to PDF files posted on the website of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California.

Chinese

English

Lao

Samoan

Spanish

Tagalog

Thai 

Vietnamese

 

 

 

 

Materials by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Public Charge Fact Sheet (April 2011)

Public Charge Web Page (Sept. 2009)

Public Charge Fact Sheet (Nov. 2009)

Public Charge Q's & A's (Sept. 2009)

Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds
(64 FR 28689, Mar. 26, 1999)(from Federal Register website)