Public Charge

Public Charge


SEPTEMBER 9, 2022: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule addressing the public charge inadmissibility ground. The new rule will become effective on December 23, 2022.

The 1999 field guidance will continue to govern public charge inadmissibility adjudications in the U.S. until the final rule goes into effect. The Department of State (DOS) is applying a similar policy to applications that are processed abroad. DOS has indicated that it plans to issue proposed public charge rules, which are likely to conform with the new USCIS rule.
The final USCIS public charge rule is largely similar to the 1999 Guidance and includes some helpful clarifications that are outlined in “Public Charge: What Advocates Need to Know.” USCIS plans to issue more guidance and will revise its forms to reflect the new rules.

BACKGROUND

On March 9, 2021, a final order vacating USCIS’ 2019 public charge rules went into effect. The federal government informed the U.S. Supreme Court that it would no longer defend the public charge rule issued under the Trump administration. On March 15, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule that removed the 2019 public charge regulations from the Federal Register, discontinued the Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, and other forms used to implement the 2019 rule and called for the revision of the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and forms related to affidavits of support. These changes, which implemented USCIS’s reinstatement of the 1999 field guidance, went into effect on March 9, 2021.

The Department of State’s (DOS) public charge regulations and related policies continue to be enjoined (placed on hold) by a federal judge in Make the Road New York v. Blinken. The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) instructions on public charge currently govern immigration applications that are processed abroad. DOS indicated that it plans to issue new proposed rules, in light of public comments received (in response to changed circumstances), and the pending USCIS rule.

Please stay tuned for updates on any changes or developments. For more resources, visit PIFcoalition.org.

MATERIALS BY NILC & THE PROTECTING IMMIGRANT FAMILIES CAMPAIGN


Public Charge Update: What Advocates Need to Know Now (PDF)

This fact sheet includes information on the public charge ground of inadmissibility under the 1999 Field Guidance, as well as any changes expected when the final USCIS public charge rule becomes effective (December 23, 2022). It addresses questions including the definition of public charge, as well as which public benefits are considered in a public charge test, and which immigrants are exempt from a public charge test.
[ Read more – PDF ]


Screening Tool

This screening tool, created by our partners at PIF California, was developed by benefits experts and immigration lawyers to help immigrant communities understand if there is a public charge test for their immigration plans or status.

  • Go to KeepYourbenefits.org (English, Spanish, and Chinese)
  • You can also access California-specific information by text at 650-376-8006
    • Text “benefits” for English
    • Text “libre” for Spanish
    • Text “福利” for Chinese
    • Text “lợiích” for Vietnamese