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Rodriguez Law Firm

The New Public Charge Rule

The new public charge rule does not affect everyone that applies for a green card or to has received certain public benefits. Under this new rule immigration officials will look at all positive and negative factors related to the applicant’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial means, level of education and job skills.

What is Public Charge?

A person that applies for a green card must demonstrate that they are not likely to become a public charge. The immigration officer can deny your application if he/she believes the noncitizen applicant is likely to use certain public benefits. In other words, the noncitizen must present evidence that he or she will be able to support themselves without using certain government benefits.

APPLICANTS AFFECTED BY PUBLIC CHARGE

The new rule took effect on February 24, 2020 and requires the applicant to complete form I-944. The rule applies to those attempting to obtain lawful permanent residence through a family member petition.

APPLICANTS NOT AFFECTED BY PUBLIC CHARGE

  • A person that already has a green card
  • Renewing a green card
  • Does not apply to applicants for naturalization/citizenship
  • Does not apply to applicants of U visa, VAWA holders, T visa holders, asylees, refugees, TPS.

CERTAIN PUBLIC BENEFITS CAN MAKE AN APPLICANT INELIGBLE

An immigration officer will consider, as a negative factor, if the noncitizen received certain public benefits for more than 12 months within any 36-month period. It is important to note that DHS will only consider a noncitizen to have received public benefits if the person is the named beneficiary of the benefit. This means the noncitizen is not penalized if other family members received public benefits. These benefits include:

  • Received federal funded Medi-Cal,
  • Food stamps,
  • Federally funded housing assistance,
  • Is employed or not,
  • The applicant’s health condition,

EXCEPTIONS NOT CONSIDERED A PUBLIC CHARGE

  • Emergency care
  • Children’s health Insurance (CHIP)
  • Medicaid used by children under 21 years old
  • Public health services
  • Pregnant women receiving care during and 60 days after pregnancy
  • Earned benefits like unemployment, social security retirement, workers compensation
  • Tax credits
  • Benefits used by members of the military, Reserves and their spouses and children
  • School based nutrition services and public education
  • WIC
  • Spouse and children of those active and enlisted in military service

THE FOLLOWING FACTORS ARE USED TO DETERMINE PUBLIC CHARGE

The USCIS officer or consular officer will use the “totality of circumstances” to determine if the alien is more likely than not to receive public benefits. The officer will consider the follow circumstances when reviewing the alien’s application for a green card:

  1. Age
  2. Health
  3. Family status
  4. Assets, and resources
  5. Financial status
  6. Education and skills
  7. The sponsor’s affidavit of support

Immigration attorneys will need to wait a few months to see just how immigration officials will use the information from the new I-944 form to approve or deny your application. It is important, to keep in mind that having received a public benefit is only one part of the public charge test. Immigration officers should not deny your green card application just because you might have received one or more of the public benefits listed in the new rule. Immigration Officers are required to consider many factors when deciding if you are likely to be depend on public benefits in the future. Officers must also consider your family’s income, other resources available to you, your age, your health condition, your education, your employment history and prospects.

Call (619) 332-1703to request a free consultation with at Rodriguez Law Firm. Services are also available in Spanish.

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