The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will implement its Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility final regulation on December 23, 2022. This previously announced final rule clarifies and standardizes how DHS will handle the public charge ground of inadmissibility for noncitizens. The previous administration started to take into account supplemental public health benefits like Medicaid and nutritional assistance as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination, but this final rule returns the historical understanding of a “public charge” that had been in place for decades.
How is a public charge inadmissibility determined?
When making a public charge inadmissibility determination under this final rule, DHS will consider the following:
- Applicant’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; education and skills;”
- Sufficient Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA (when one is required);
- and prior or current receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
- State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”);
- or long-term institutionalization at government expense.
DHS will not consider receipt of noncash benefits (for example, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, public housing, school lunch programs, etc.) other than long-term institutionalization at government expense.
How will the new rule be implemented?
The USCIS released a Policy Manual update that informs the public about how the rule would be applied. Apart from that, the Policy Manual should provide direction to USCIS employees on how to apply this regulation fairly and uniformly. On December 23, 2022, USCIS will start implementing the policy advice for applications submitted (or electronically submitted, as appropriate) on or after that date.
What you need to know before about sending forms to USCIS?
In a nutshell, the USCIS will:
- Reject the 07/15/22 edition of Form I-485 if it is postmarked on or after Dec. 23, 2022.
- Reject the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 if it is postmarked on or before Dec. 22, 2022.