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News and Updates

The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.

An Overview of the US Final Public Charge Rule

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a final Public Charge rule on August 14, 2019, in the Federal Register for would-be immigration applicants. The rule covers why and how a green card applicant’s use of public benefits may result in the denial of an immigrant visa or adjustment of status application. It takes effect on October 13, 2019.

Crispin Aranda

An Overview of the US Final Public Charge Rule

Immigrant Visa Application and Adjustment of Status

The green card is the document that an immigrant visa applicant receives after being admitted in the U.S. with a valid immigrant visa usually through a Family-based petition or Employment-based sponsorship.

If you are a tourist, student or work visa holder in the U.S., the USCIS may issue you a green card after successfully applying for adjustment of status – from the nonimmigrant category to that of a lawful permanent resident.

Whether you are applying for the visa at a consular post or filing to adjust status in the U.S., your application shall be covered by this public charge final rule to prove eligibility and admissibility.

Are you completing an immigrant visa application, DS 260 form? Learn how the Final Public Charge Rule will affect how you answer the form.

Public Charge and Public Benefit

An “alien” in immigration law means a person who is neither a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.

The new rule redefines the term "public charge" to include an alien who received any designated public benefits for more than 12 months. The counting is in the aggregate, within 36 months. Therefore, an alien who applied successfully for two benefits in one month will count as two months.

The term "public benefit" in the rule includes cash benefits for

  • Income maintenance
  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • Most forms of Medicaid
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance using the Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and
  • Certain other types of subsidized housing.

Are you married to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces? Take heart! The USCIS already exempted some active-duty military members and their families from the Public Charge Rule.

Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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