Public Charge Rule Reinstated – Here's Who Can & Cannot Enter The United States

The US. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reinstated the rule on Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility nationwide. This is applicable to all applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after Feb. 24, 2020. This includes states of New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

This decision comes after an injunction was issued to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in the end of July 2020. This injunction prevented the DHS from enforcing the public charge final rule during a national health emergency.

What Is The Public Charge Rule?

The public charge rule determines whether someone is likely to become a public charge today or at any time in the future for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period. This makes them inadmissible for admission to the United States of America and ineligible for adjustment of status.   

The applicant’s age, health, family status, financial status, education and skill-sets, prospective immigration status, period of admission to the country, and details of the self-sufficiency Form I-864 will considered to determine if he disqualifies under the public charge ruling.

Are You Subjected To The Wealth Test To Allow Entry Into The US?

Here Are The USCIS Issued Forms For The New Public Charge Rule

The following State or Federal benefits qualify for grounds of inadmissibility into the US:

  • Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance   
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) 
  • Federal, state or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” in the state context, but which may exist under other names)  
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or formerly called “Food Stamps”) 
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program 
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation)  
  • Public Housing under section 9 the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq. 
  • Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusions) 

Which Benefits Are Not Considered Under The Grounds Of Inadmissibility?

Medicaid benefits received under the following circumstances are not covered under the grounds of inadmissibility

  • treatment of an “emergency medical condition;
  • services or benefits provided in connection with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
  • school-based services or benefits provided to individuals who are at or below the oldest age eligible for secondary education as determined under State or local law;
  • aliens under the age of 21; and 
  • pregnant women and by women within the 60-day period beginning on the last day of the pregnancy. 

Who Is Affected By The Public Charge Rule

The rule applies to applicants for admission, aliens seeking to adjust their status to that of lawful permanent residents from within the United States, and aliens within the United States who hold a nonimmigrant visa and seek to extend their stay in the same nonimmigrant classification or to change their status to a different nonimmigrant classification. This alien should be listed as beneficiary of the public benefit.

What are the Exceptions to The Wealth Test?

Here’s a list of which non-cash benefits and special-purpose cash benefits are NOT subject to public charge consideration

Who Is Exempted From The Public Charge Rule?

  • It is not applicable to US citizens or aliens who have been exempted from the public charge rule who are in receipt of public benefits in the past, current, or future.
  • US citizens related to a noncitizen who is subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility are exempted from this ruling.
  • Refugees, asylees, Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas, certain victims of trafficking and crime, special immigrant juveniles and individuals applying under the Violence Against Women Act are exempted from the public charge ruling.
  • It is also not applicable to those who DHS has granted a waiver of public charge inadmissibility.  
  • Those enlisted in the Armed Forces, or serving in active duty or in any of the Ready Reserve components of the U.S. armed forces, as well as their dependent spouse and children do not come under the purview of this public charge ruling.