What is New about the Public Charge Rule
USCIS implemented a new rule (effective February 24, 2020) to decide who will be considered “public charge. Under the old rule USCIS would decide whether an applicant is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for income support and subsistence. Now USCIS will consider a public charge a person who is likely to receive any number of public benefits for more than an aggregate of 12 months over any 36-month period of time. The new rule also defines a “public benefit” to include more programs, and tells the reviewing officers to look at multiple factors to assess whether someone is likely to become public charge.
Does the New Public Charge Rule Impact Me?
Anyone applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, adjustment of status and some applicants seeking extension/change of status are subject to the rule. However, there are many exceptions:
- 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
- U.S. citizens, including naturalized citizens
- Lawful Permanent Residents (note: if you plan to be abroad for more than 180 days, please talk to your attorney)
What Documents and Information Do I Have to Submit ?
Under the new public charge rule, you will need to provide additional information and documents to USCIS as part of your application. This includes information and documentation about your health, family, education, income, assets, debt, credit score, prior bankruptcy filings, receipt of any public benefits, an Affidavit of Support from a financial sponsor, and most importantly, the newly released Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.