Federal Agencies, Agency Memos & Announcements

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

2/5/20 AILA Doc. No. 20020530.

USCIS issued guidance addressing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule.

The new guidance is effective as of February 24, 2020, and applies to all applications and petitions postmarked on or after February 24, 2020.

USCIS will not consider the application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain previously excluded non-cash public benefits (such as SNAP, most forms of Medicaid, and public housing) before February 24, 2020. Similarly, USCIS will not consider as a heavily weighted negative factor receipt of previously included public benefits (such as SSI and TANF) before February 24, 2020.

Policy Highlights

  • Defines the term “public charge” for purposes of inadmissibility determinations under INA 212(a)(4).
  • Lists the categories of applicants that are exempt from, or may obtain a waiver of, the public charge inadmissibility ground.
  • Identifies the types of public benefits that are considered in public charge inadmissibility determinations, as well as in applications and petitions for extension of stay and change of status.
  • Identifies the factors that USCIS considers and explains that officers review the totality of the applicant’s circumstances when determining public charge inadmissibility.
  • Explains that a sufficient Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, when required, is but one factor in the totality of the circumstances, and does not, by itself, mean an alien is not inadmissible based on the public charge ground.
  • Explains the public charge bond process for adjustment of status applications filed with USCIS.
  • Explains the public benefits condition that applies to nonimmigrants seeking extension of stay and change of status.
  • Explains that the public charge ground of inadmissibility does not apply in naturalization proceedings except that, for the purposes of determining whether a naturalization applicant was lawfully admitted for permanent residence under INA 318, the officer’s review includes whether the alien was inadmissible based on the public charge ground.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20020530.