The public charge rule is a complex part of U.S. immigration law that has recently seen some major changes. This government policy determines whether they deny an immigrant’s application for a green card or visa due to the possibility of becoming a “public charge” dependent on government assistance.
Before you apply, you should understand that this rule can significantly affect your application outcome.
Who does the public charge rule apply to?
The public charge rule applies to immigrants seeking green cards or visas from inside or outside the United States. It does not apply to refugees, asylees, survivors of trafficking and violence and certain other categories. If you are applying for U.S. citizenship, public charge does not apply.
How is public charge determined?
Immigration officials look at all of your circumstances, including your health, age, income, education, skills and any family you must support. Having used certain public benefits in the past or currently can count as a negative factor. However, having used public benefits alone will not make you ineligible. Each case is unique.
What should you do?
First, understand that public charge is complex. Consider all the factors immigration officials will examine to gather the big picture. While benefits use can count against you, it is not the only factor. Make sure your entire application presents your best case.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received 9.1 million applications in 2021. This showcases the demand placed on the immigration system. Taking the time to understand how the public charge rule may impact your application is crucial. Use all of the resources available to you to help you present the strongest case possible based on all the unique factors in your life.