“Public charge” is a rule that immigration can use to deny an application for permanent residence (“Green card”) OR certain other visas to enter the USA from abroad.
Public charge DOES NOT APPLY TO: U.S. citizens or applicants, asylees or refugees, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, TPS or DACA, VAWA, U or T visas or green cards based on these visas, or green card renewals. The public charge rule considers all of the applicants circumstances such as income, employment, health, education or skills, family situation and the family/sponsor income, and whether a person (not a family member) has used certain public benefit programs.
DOES PUBLIC CHARGE AFFECT YOU?
Do you already have a green card?
Public charge does not apply. But, if you plan to leave the country for more than 6 months, it is a good idea to talk with an immigration attorney. The public charge test is not part of the U.S. citizenship application.
Are you applying for: Citizenship, Green Card renewal, DACA renewal, U or T Visa , Asylum or Refugee status, TPS, VAWA, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Green Card based on U/T/SIJ, VAWA?
Public charge does not apply to you for these applications. You may use any benefits for which you qualify, now or in the future.
Do you or your family plan to apply for a green card or visa from inside the U.S.?
The new public charge test may apply. You should talk with a qualified immigration lawyer who understands the new rule to see if it applies to you or your family. There are many benefits’ programs that will not affect applications.
Does your family plan to apply for a green card or visa from outside the U.S? States?
U.S. consular offices in other countries use different rules. Before making a decision about your case or about public benefit, talk to a qualified attorney about this.
AS OF OCTOBER 15, 2019: Receipt of these benefits will be considered:
· Cash benefits (SSI, MFIP, General Assistance)
· SNAP/Food stamps/EBT
· Medicaid with some exceptions
· Federal public housing/Section 8
AND Immigration officials will more closely look at your other circumstances listed on the front of the brochure.
The New Rule DOES NOT apply to these programs:
**These programs are safe to get if eligible.
· Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA)
· Medicaid for children under 21, pregnant women
· Child care
· Head Start
· Food banks
· Energy Assistance
· Workers’ Compensation
· Veterans benefits
· Foster care
· School meals
· Public health testing/ treatment for communicable diseases
Beginning October 15, 2019, the Government will apply this new rule, but the old rule applies to requests pending or submitted before that date.
ALWAYS SPEAK WITH YOUR LAWYER FIRST BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO RECEIVE GOVERNMENT BENEFITS.