Public Charge Rule 2021: What You Need to Know

Public Charge Rule

A new reason for visa and green card rejection is on the horizon. As of February 24, 2020 government officials can reject immigrant applicants if they suspect that they are likely to become a public charge (receive public benefits). These rule changes change the definition of public charge and inadmissibility. Thus, it could affect your ability for approval or change of status.

 

This guide will explain the changes regarding the Public Charge Rule, and the potential effects.

 

If you have any questions about the Public Charge Rule, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

Overview:

 

1. History of Public Charge

 

2. 1999 Public Charge Definition

 

3. 2020 Public Charge Definition

 

4. Rule Change Impact

 

5. Passing the Public Charge Test

 

6. How to Proceed

 

7. Conclusion

 

1. History of Public Charge

 

The idea of self-sufficiency has long been a factor United States immigration. As early as the 1800s, there have been attempts to keep those who might become public charges out of the United States. During the Great Depression, increased regulations were put in place to ensure immigrants would be able to support themselves. This included requiring immigrants to be sponsored by someone in the US. Throughout the 1990s, increased measures to prevent immigrants from using public assistance programs in the United States were added. This included requiring Form I-864 and the passing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996.

 

In 1999, the current standard for public charge was set. This stated that applicants who were likely to become primarily dependent on the US government, either through cash assistance programs or long-term institutionalization, would not be admitted to the United States. Therefore, they were deemed as “inadmissible.”

 

2. 1999 Public Charge Definition

 

Prior to the February 24, 2020 rule change, a visa would be rejected if the beneficiary was determined to become primarily dependent on public assistance or to require long-term institutionalization paid for by the US government.  Public assistance referred only to cash assistance programs, such as SSI or TANF. Importantly, this did not include other forms of public assistance such as food stamps, medicaid, or subsidized housing.

 

3. 2020 Public Charge Definition

 

As of February 24, 2020, the public charge standard has changed. The standard is laid out in INA § 212. It states that anyone likely to become a public charge should not be admitted to the United States. It defines public charge as anyone who will use public assistance for at least 12 months over a 3 year period. Furthermore, the definition of public assistance has been expanded to include food stamps, SNAP, Medicaid, and Section 8 or Section 9 housing. The rule changes also call for an expanded set of factors to be considered.

 

In particular, one’s age, health, family status, finances, and skills are all now heavily considered. Those over 65 are deemed to be a higher public charge risk. Additionally, anyone with a health condition noted on Form G-639 and those without health insurance, are considered a higher risk. Those with children are also considered to be a higher risk. Other factors that increase one’s risk factor include debt, a poor credit score, previously receiving a USCIS fee waiver, having declared bankruptcy, and being behind on child support. Those with limited work and/or education experience, particularly lack of English fluency, will also be negatively considered.  Additionally, anyone who had applied for and/or received public assistance, particularly if it has been for a period of time over 12 months, is considered to be at higher risk. None of these factors independently will determine admissibility to the United States. All factors will be considered. However, previous use of public assistance and one’s ability to pay for medical costs are likely to be weighted most significantly.

 

4. Rule Change Impact

 

The public charge analysis is only considered when: (1) one is seeking to enter the United States as an immigrant or (2) adjust to immigrant status within the United States.

 

This rule change does not make it illegal for you to receive public benefits or mean that you will be deported from the country. It also does not affect naturalization to become a US citizen.

 

However, it does mean more applications will be rejected. It also means that some people who were hoping to become permanent residents of the United States may no longer qualify. Lastly, those who were expecting to extend their status may no longer be eligible for an extension.

 

It is also important to note that not everyone will be impacted by the public charge rule. US military members and their families are exempt. Additionally, those on the SIJS, U, T, and VAWA visas will not be affected by public charge rules. Also, those in the United States as asylees, refugees or through the NACARA or Cuban Adjustment Act will not be affected by these rule changes.

 

Additionally, some public assistance is not factored in when determining if someone is likely to become a public charge. This means that even if you may receive these benefits, you would not be considered a public charge. This includes WIC, Head Start, emergency medical assistance, Social Security retirement, military members or veterans benefits, benefits used only by family members (not the primary beneficiary), tax credits, or state or local programs as long as they are not cash assistance.

 

5. Passing the Public Charge Test

 

In order to prove that you are not at risk of being a public charge, several documents may be useful. It is firstly useful to demonstrate education and work experience, as well as English proficiency. You should also provide tax records. Evidence of health insurance or ability to pay for medical costs should also be provided.

 

6. How to Proceed

 

There are several ramifications for this change.

 

Firstly, all foreign nationals must now submit Form I-944. Form I-944 is the Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. This form is completed by the beneficiary and demonstrates why they will not become a public charge. It does not need to be filed by those exempt from the public charge inadmissibility charge, as discussed in Section 4: “Rule Change Impact.” Applicants may also need to include additional documents in their applications to demonstrate they are not a risk of becoming a public charge as discussed in Section 5: “Passing the Public Charge Test”.

 

Secondly, as discussed in Section 4: “Rule Change Impact,” some applicants may no longer be eligible for some nonimmigrant visas. These individuals can work with an immigration lawyer to minimize their risk of rejection. My team and I would be happy to discuss your options with you.

 

7. Conclusion

 

As of February 24, 2020, new rules regarding Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds will go into effect. These rule changes change the definition of public charge and could affect your ability for immigrant and nonimmigrant benefits. You should now have a better sense of the public charge regulations, who is impacted, and how to proceed.

 

My team and I will continue to post updates as applicable. If you have any questions about any of the information in this post or about public charge in general, my team and I would be happy to help. I can be contacted directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

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00:40 02 Jul 21
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18:26 01 Jun 21
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22:01 11 Mar 21
I would highly recommend the firm Ashoori Law for any immigration cases or concerns and had a great experience with, Mr.Rohit Srinivasa. I am very much satisfied and will look forward working with them in future for any related cases. Best Wishes to... the entire team and sincere thanks for all your efforts.read more
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23:59 10 Mar 21
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22:27 05 Mar 21
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19:05 05 Mar 21
I am Canadian born citizen who had a general question in regards to moving to the US. I spoke to Karla Samayoa. I must say my consultation experience was nothing but exceptional. I had a general inquiry on the preferred methods of obtaining a visa... with dual intent. Karla was extremely helpful and answer any question I had from her. For anyone is not sure which path they should take in terms of immigration, book a free consultation with Ashoori Law. Ask for Karla, she is hands down the best person to ask for advice.read more
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03:41 05 Mar 21
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Sarbjit Singh
04:49 25 Feb 21
Michael Ashoori is the Quickest ANSWERING Immigration Lawyer in the entire USA, even it’s 08:38 pm In west cost Los Angels and I texted him thru google and he immediately replied to me Question and answer booked my Free appointment for tomorrow... which is gonna be February 25 ,Well I feel very positive about it so let’s see what happens TomorrowJust want to sayThank you MichaelBestSabiread more
Ale
00:03 24 Feb 21
Karla Samayoa was very knowledgeable regarding my case and gave me thorough advise. She was very professional and kind. I will definitely look of Ashoori Law's help should I have a case to proceed further. I recommend to contact them for your legal... case regarding immigration.read more
Harim
01:10 10 Feb 21
Ashoori Law was very helpful throughout the whole process of applying for a travel document (re-entry permit). I asked them to process my case ASAP and they tried their best to expedite the process. They were informative and responsive. The most... helpful part was their prompt responses to my emails, especially given the pandemic situation. Also, their online system for filling out necessary documents was convenient and allowed me to easily track my case status. Overall, I definitely recommend working with them!read more
Natasha Methwani
00:49 10 Feb 21
We are really impressed with their services. Really professional, knowledgeable, up to date with all immigrantation changes. Our case got approved. We will recommend them for any immigration services.
Jaskiran Dhillon
17:05 03 Feb 21
My friend Ujjwal recommended Mr. Rohit Srinivasa. Had an amazing consultation with Rohit. He was very helpful and kind. He gave me ample time, guidance and resolved all my queries. I am looking forward to work with Ashoori Law Firm. Keep it up,... Rohit. Good Luck.read more
Emily S.
16:00 26 Jan 21
When I decided to engage an immigration attorney in December, I knew I needed someone that had a track record of successful execution, had a support team that could collaborate to expedite the timeline, communicated professionally, and most... importantly, was confident in my ability to get the case approved.I interviewed thirteen highly experienced immigration attorneys that were recommended by my extensive business network. I came across many issues. First of all, I was quoted astronomically high rates with long timelines. I was recommended visas that did not fit my needs, which would ultimately result in more lengthy filings and high fees. Many of these attorneys had their own private practice where they had a bias towards one type of visa they were specialized in, so they recommended immigration solutions that did not meet my profile whatsoever. Further, they did not have a strong and large enough team so they couldn’t confidently work on an expedited timeline. On the other end of the spectrum were the attorneys who worked at large firms with hundreds if not thousands of employees – they recommended the most expensive and lengthy visas, which were unrealistic for my budget and timeline.When I shared my difficulty finding an immigration attorney with a friend of mine who is a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, he was quick to recommend Michael Ashoori. After only a few minutes of speaking to Michael on the phone for our initial consult, I knew Ashoori Law could help me with my immigration case because of their customized approach, experienced team and confidence in the visa they were recommending. Over the course of a week, I worked with his team to put together a stellar and thorough case. A few weeks later, we received an approval! Working with the Ashoori Law team on my case was a great experience! I highly recommend Ashoori Law to anyone who needs US immigration services.read more
Roberto GCB
23:38 11 Jan 21
My experience with Ashoori Law was really! Lahaina Araneta helped me through out all of my visa process and everything was really amazing. They really pay attention to every detail and try to deliver the best case possible. Totally recommend it!
Sameer Agashe
23:08 29 Dec 20
Keep up the good work!
Yousuf Dadi
02:34 29 Dec 20
I had a great experience with Ashoori law Working with Lahaina has been great. She is very professional and knowledgeable in her field. I would strongly recommend this firm. I would like to thank all team of Ashoori Law from bottom of my heart.... They respond me immediately when i need their help, I appreciate all that they have done for me.your consideration,guidance,help and time. Thanks in bunchesread more
Rhys Gray
22:07 28 Dec 20
Rohit is a credit to the company. Really took the time to listen to & understand our situation, then talked us through all of our suitable options clearly & concisely with a friendly & pressure-free manner. Absolutely would recommend to anyone who... needs help & guidance in navigating what can be an incredibly confusing processread more
karla marro
05:23 22 Dec 20
Michael and Lahaina are the best they support me from the beginning and always answering my questions and concerns and following up so I super recommend them !
3 Dots IT Solutions
18:20 07 Dec 20
I just want to say Ashoori Law firm has been the best I ever dealt with. Starting from the front desk receptionist, everybody is very professional and responsive. Lahaina is my attorney whom I worked with. She is very well organized and guided me on... the right direction towards a successful approval of H1 for my consultant. To my surprise, there wasn't a RFE at all. Thanks so much for your service and I would highly recommend them for any immigration related service.read more
Art E
18:49 30 Nov 20
After multiple, futile attempts to seek Immigration Attorneys who are knowledgeable in worker visas (specifically L1A), we were finally able to find Ashoori Law! Our first L1A case submitted to Ashoori Law was successfully APPROVED. Despite the... most recent restrictions and suspensions with worker visas, Ashoori Law was able to put forth a compelling petition. Ashoori Law's internal processing systems and network of subject matter experts makes submitting a petition much easier and understandable. Highly recommended!read more
Jaco
23:58 19 Nov 20
Working with Michael and his team has been a great experience. You can see they have been doing this for years and everything is very well organized. I would highly recommend them for any immigration or visa requirements.
ujjwal luthra
18:43 13 Nov 20
I had wonderful Chat with Mr. Rohit Srinivasa. He was very kind, loyal and helpful. He is truly an asset for the firm. Looking forward to work with Ashoori Law firm. Keep it Up. Stay Blessed.Good Luck.🤝
Karthik Easwaran
16:47 10 Nov 20
Rohit S was very responsive!
Kemi Bamidele
18:26 05 Nov 20
Ehsan Mehri was very professional and compassionate when I spoke to him. He answered all my questions and I was so at peace after speaking to him. I absolutely recommend this law firm. They are a bunch of geniuses and they know what they are doing.
Lung Lee
05:02 29 Oct 20
Professional, kind and really helpful. I'd like to special thank to Rohit for his passion and caring.
Deepak Chandani
19:10 23 Oct 20
Michael, Lahaina and team are the best immigration lawyer firm - I wish I had them before I see the difference in service they are very responsive and professional. They got my H1B approved for three years.
Vincent Morrow
05:57 19 Oct 20
First of all, let me tell you why you should take my review seriously. I've lived in the US for almost 14 years, and I've always kept my visa status current. So, in the past 14 years, I worked with 4 immigration law firms. I've also met, exchanged... emails, and/or talked with countless other immigration attorneys and lawyers. So, I have A LOT of experience with immigration attorneys (by the way, you should also know that there is a difference between an attorney and a lawyer. You'd want an attorney if possible). And 3 out of the 4 firms who actually worked on my case(s) were excellent (that's why my visa status is still current… obviously haha). I don't want to talk about the one (out of the 4 firms) because that one was bad (thank god, he didn't end up working on my case). I only want to talk about the good ones, and in this case, it's Ashoori Law firm. And I'd like to tell you that, if you're looking for an immigration attorney and/or an immigration law firm, look no further! You have found it! You don't even need to read the rest of my review. Just go, sign the contract, and start working with them now, period!Okay, so you've decided to read further down the line? Fine. Here is why you should choose Ashoori Law. I'm a small business owner, so I know a thing or two about how a group of people get things going and get things done. And in order for something to go right, a lot of other things have to work right as well. Your dinner tastes good? The person(s) who cooked it must have done it right. And so does the farmer who helped grow the veggies you’re having now. Similarly, Ashoori Law must be doing a lot of things right because they just got my visa extended in 14 days! How great is that!?In addition, I’d really like to talk about the one attorney at Ashoori Law who worked on my case and got my visa extended. Her name is Lahaina Araneta (I also want to mention her paralegal, Daniel Chausow, who also did a great job on my visa extension. Moreover, there may be other people at Ashoori Law who helped with my case that I don’t know about). In short, Lahaina is one of the best immigration attorneys I have ever met. She is smart, thorough, resourceful, and positive. She is a genuinely good person who actually cares about immigrants and understands the hardships immigrants go through (let’s face it. The system is stacked against immigrants in every possible way, so having an excellent immigration attorney who truly cares about immigrants is crucial). She always answers my emails within 24 hours if not immediately. She is resourceful, and she has ideas. She knows how to present a case and get positive results (I mean… you may have a good case, but you still need to present it in a good way to get the result(s) you want). And like I said, if something works right, a lot of other things must be working right as well.Okay, I’ll stop here for now (I’ll update my review and write even more as time goes on). In short, just go and work with Ashoori Law. You’ll be glad that you did. Thank you!read more
eddie lavian
21:58 16 Oct 20
MR Ashoori was amazing!!help a lot with the case. Thank you
highland cell24connect
18:45 12 Oct 20
I give an excellent 5 star review to Michael Ashoori law firm and his team especially Lahaina Araneta for their excellent service for E-2 approval. The whole team is very professional and detail oriented and they provide response very promptly.... Along with being compassionate towards their clients, they provide amazing legal advice on immigration matters which helps clients get approval in quickest time possible. Hats off and highly recommend to others !!read more
Life Mizrahi
19:30 08 Oct 20
I would like to thank Michael Ashoori and his wonderful team!We had a very complicated immigration situation that he and his team were able to clear up and accomplish our goals.The price was very reasonable and The timing was excellent.Thank... you for all of the wonderful work.read more
chaya mizrahi
19:17 08 Oct 20
We had a very difficult situation with our legal immigration status and thanks to Michael and his Wonderful team they were able to fix everything within a reasonable amount of time and for a decent price.We highly recommend this team of attorneys... for all of your Immigration needs and beyond.read more
Bhavna G
21:10 29 Sep 20
Phenomenal service! Rapid response and attention to detail. The team were extremely diligent with the entire process and kept me up to date through the process! We had lots of hiccups with USCIS and CoVid causing multiple delays. I was extremely... impressed by Lahaina and her team. Right until the very end they messaged me, shared updates and provided guidance on next steps. Phenomenal service and. I’ll definitely be using them again. Thank you to the entire team at Ashoori law! I couldn’t have gotten through this process without you!!I highly recommend for all your immigration legal needs!!! Thank you so much!read more
Gene Boekhoudt
02:22 29 Sep 20
Lahaina Araneta of ASHOORI LAW was instrumental in assisting me to get my E2 Visa. The service was always on point and result driven. I was always well informed and prepared for my Interview.I highly recommend using the service of ASHOORI LAW.
Umesh Joshi
20:49 26 Sep 20
It was very nice experience and really helpful for all kind of services
Dmitry Bak
23:46 13 Sep 20
Michael helped us a lot preparing and sending all the needed documents to USCIS. We were very squeezed in time, and I even had to drive from SF to LA to deliver the originals in person, quicker than USPS or Fedex could do, to save one day. Michael... met me in his office at night time, so kind! During the entire period, Michael's team kept us informed about every single step they did, and finally we got all the needed approvals from USCIS. I highly recommend Michael, his company is a great example of how an ideal lawyer/attorney should work.read more
Freuet Solutions LLC
22:49 08 Sep 20
Mike reached out to me personally and gave a good and detail explanation of possible options to take in my case.I recommend you reach out to him with your immigration matters.
Ha Ka
17:48 02 Sep 20
I can only recommend Michael Ashoori for all your immigration needs and inquiries . Very proffessional. Thanks to Michael Ashoori and all his team. I will be back soon again!
Tarek
11:57 02 Sep 20
Started working with Michael Ashoori firm around march this year during the pandemic, but despite these difficult times they guided me step by step and they were always there when ever i had a question or clarification.Lahaina was great, very... professional immigration attorney and of very help through out all the process.She guided me all the way till i got my L1 visa approved.They have this portal system while they post in details every single document needed to ensure the success of the petition. I just had to collect all these documents, upload them on the portal and then they take it from there, they prepared everything and filled up the petition. Their job doesn’t stop here since most of the petitions gets an RFE from USCIS, so they continue by preparing whats needed and resubmit again till i got the reply that my petition was approved.Over all, Michael and his team are very professional and they really know what they are doing and they stay updated with all the recent laws and regulations going on. Highly recommendedread more
Ahmed Gaber
21:44 03 Aug 20
Good office because he offer free consultation
Vj M
03:58 14 Jul 20
Mike and his team helped me with E2. They were very patient and professional throughout the process which got significantly delayed due to Covid. The attorney assigned to me was very knowledgeable and available to advise even at a short notice.... Overall, I had a very pleasant experience and would highly recommend Ashoori Law. Looking forward to working together again in the near future.read more
Gustavo Mas
18:03 07 Jul 20
My experience with Michael is remarkable, he is very professional and has profound knowledge in immigration laws, he made me feel like I was with the right lawyer, so rest assure, if you decide to work with him, you are very likely to be successful... at your case.read more
Allen Pourkhomami
18:58 25 Jun 20
Great institutions like Ashoori law firm are made by great people, and there are no finer individuals than those who dedicated themselves to assist clients with different cases like mine. “HONEST & EMPATHETIC” are the words that come to mind when I... think of Lahaina and the rest of her amazing team! Highly professional and experienced immigration attorney who provided excellent service, demonstrating personal attention to all details of your cases. They show compassion by studying clients' stories.They certainly know the immigration process and help you fully prepare for the case and interview. They are always making sure that the whole process goes very smooth. I especially want to thank “Lahaina Araneta” attorney & Michael Ashoori. If you are a really nervous client like me, these people are always super patient and kind with you. If anyone is looking for immigration help, “Ashoori law firm” should be your very first choice for sure because they can really get things done!Working with Lahaina Araneta was absolutely great. She helped me through my entire journey without any hesitations. I always got answers whenever I had questions. I will definitely work with “HER” again on my next journey. She helped me a lot from the beginning of my case (naturalization case). She is attentive to details and very informative. She also quickly responded to my questions about my status. I can't say enough about her. I was completely dazzled by her communication skills and courage in communications with the USCIS office. I am blown away by her integrity and all the hard work she has done on my behalf. I will always be grateful for all of her efforts. Lahaina I just want to thank you for the excellent work you did as my immigration attorney. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for all the cares and concerns you have shown me, and for working tirelessly. if it weren’t for your analytical skills and knowledge, the matter wouldn’t have been settled by now. I knew you have a lot of clients, so your prompt responses and attention to detail really meant a lot to me. Having an experienced attorney like you on my side was a good sign that I was walking into the right path to win the case. Thank you Lahaina for your support during my N-400 application process, and for helping me to get the desired outcome. You don't know how much your passion impacts the lives of others.read more
Sandie Galloway
18:41 10 Jun 20
Lahaina was one of 4 lawyers that I had an Initial consult with. She was the only one who took the time to truly understand my case. She was patient with me and very responsive. The most important thing is she was the only lawyer who believed in me.... She has world class professionalism. We successfully got my visa and I couldn’t have done it without her. Will never use another law firm. Highly recommend. She truly cares about her clients and goes the extra mile.read more
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Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.