Public Charge

PPID Immigration attorneys handle matters related to Revised Public Charge Rule and Form I-944

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) scrutinizes admission applications to determine if you, as a prospective immigrant, should be denied because you are likely to rely on public assistance. Recently, USCIS has produced a new, stricter rule that puts an added burden on applicants to present clear proof they will not become a public charge. Therefore, if you are applying for a green card, it’s more important than ever that you receive reliable advice from a knowledgeable immigration attorney. We can help you present a clear declaration of self-sufficiency and the strongest possible case for admission.

The new, stricter Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule went into effect on February 24, 2020 with four major changes:

Totality of the circumstances standard — The rule now asks whether a person is “likely at any time to use or receive one or more public benefits.” Officers will now look at a range of factors, such as age, income, education, health, family, and employment to determine whether a likelihood of becoming a public charge at some point exists.

Expansive definition of public benefits — The new rule adds to the list of programs that are considered public benefits. These include non-cash benefits, such as SNAP, non-emergency Medicaid, public housing, Section 8 vouchers, and institutionalization for long-term care. The new rule does not classify emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch program or the children’s health insurance program as disqualifying public benefits. Likewise, benefits used by your U.S. citizen children are not taken into account. Fortunately, the rule is not retroactive, so if you received any of the newly included benefits before February 24, 2020, they will not be counted against you. You cannot receive more than 12 months of total benefits in a three-year period. However, the rule counts each benefit separately, so if you receive two benefits in the same month, you will have two months of benefits on your record.

The rule now applies to extension of nonimmigrant visas — If you entered the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and want to extend your stay beyond your current expiration date, you must pass scrutiny under the new public charge rule.

Less emphasis on the affidavit of support — Previously, the sworn statement of a United States citizen or permanent resident sponsor was sufficient to show that an applicant for a green card would not later become a public charge. Under the new totality of circumstances standard, the affidavit is simply one factor among many.

There are exceptions to the new rule. If your case falls under the new rule, we can assemble the evidence to present your argument effectively. A PPID Immigration attorney can assess your situation and help you understand your rights.

One of the most important filings for someone seeking residence in the United States is Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. This detailed document lists assets and resources you can count on to prevent you from financial hardship as you adjust to life in the United States. You are also required to disclose debts. This document carries great importance.

Understand how public charge rules impact your ability to stay in the U.S. Get advice from a knowledgeable immigration attorney at PPID.

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