2019 Public Charge rule repealed, new era for migrants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has suspended enforcement of the new “Public Charge” rule that went into effect in August 2019. The rule applied to certain Greencard and non-immigrant visa applicants who were likely to become dependent on public benefits.

The rule required immigrants to provide detailed personal and financial information, such as income and debt, education and language level, health insurance, professional licenses, credit scores, as well as previous receipt of government aid and assistance, in order to be considered for admissibility. Based on this information, the immigration authority was authorized to reject the greencard and visa applications of applicants who may be in need of public assistance.

The public charge rule has also negatively affected the Greencard application process, especially for family members, and many people have given up some basic health and public benefits in order not to be affected by Greencard applications.

The Public Charge rule, which has been on the agenda of the federal courts since its enactment, was repealed with the decision of the relevant court on March 9, 2021, when the new administration notified the court examining the file that it would not make any additional defense on this issue. The Immigration Department announced that as of this date, it will no longer apply the 2019 Public Charge rule in applications.

Accordingly, it is no longer necessary to fill out the I-944 form, known as the public charge form, in Greencard applications. Before March 9, 2021, the information and documents submitted by those who submit this form will not be taken into consideration by the immigration office. Again, there will be no need to fill in the sections related to public benefits previously received in non-immigrant visa application forms. The immigration office will make a separate announcement about the forms that are likely to change with the decision.

However, the immigration authority has announced that it will revert to the 1999 version of the public charge rule, which has relatively lenient criteria. In other words, applicants will no longer be considered inadmissible under the public charge if they have previously received Medicaid health care (except in long-term cases where the government pays for it), applied for subsidized housing assistance, or received SNAP, the food stamp program.

Instead, USCIS will continue to make the public charge assessment based on whether a person needs long-term government cash assistance to survive and whether they depend on government-provided long-term care and support. So the public charge assessment has not been completely eliminated. We will continue to share on our website and other platforms when there are further developments regarding the next implementation.

Attorney Hasan Alaz


***The information provided herein is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or guidance, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Immigration law is personal and you should contact our office directly to understand and properly analyze your specific situation.

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