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USCIS Will No Longer Enforce the Public Charge Rule

On March 9, 2021, USCIS has stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions. USCIS is not considering an applicant’s receipt of

Medicaid, public housing, or SNAP benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination. Instead, USCIS will apply the public charge inadmissibility statute consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance.

On August 14, 2019, USCIS published the public charge rule which is a ground of inadmissibility. The new rule applied to applicants who were applying for green cards through Adjustment of Status and to temporary nonimmigrants seeking to extend or change status. The 2019 Public Charge Rule expanded the definition of public charge, disqualifying a large number of green card applicants and increasing the burden of proof and evidence of income required for applicants.

According to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, “The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them. Consistent with the President’s vision, we will continue to implement reforms that improve our legal immigration system.”

What does the elimination of the 2019 Public Charge Rule mean for applicants/petitioners?

Applicants and petitioners should not provide information or evidence related to the Public Charge Final Rule. This means that applicants for adjustment of status should not submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, or any evidence or documentation required by Form I-944 when they file their Form I-485.

If an applicant or petitioner already provided information related to the Public Charge Final Rule, and USCIS adjudicates the application or petition on or after March 9, 2021, USCIS will not consider any information that relates solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, including information provided on Form I-944, or any evidence submitted with Form I-944.

According to USCIS, if you received a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) requesting information that is solely required under the Public Charge Final Rule and your response is due on or after March 9, 2021, you do not need to provide that information. Only respond to the aspect of the RFE that pertain to the rest of your application. Additionally, if USCIS requires additional information or evidence to make a public charge inadmissibility determination under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, USCIS will issue another RFE or NOID.

What must an applicant or petitioner do to meet the current Public Charge requirements?

An applicant will meet the public charge requirements if their sponsor provides proof that they have sufficient income to support the applicant. A sponsor’s annual income or assets must be at least 125 percent of the HHS poverty guidelines. However, an applicant that receives public cash assistance or institutionalized long-term care at the government’s expense could face public charge issues.

***If you have any questions or concerns regarding the public charge rule, please call Mounia Elarar Law, LLC, at (201) 668-7559 or email us at and we would be happy to help.

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