March 2021 update:
On March 9th, the Biden Administration formally stopped using the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule. This means that the following services, which counted towards the Public Charge Test, no longer affect a person’s immigration case when they are seeking permanent residence (a green card):
- Calfresh (food stamps)
- Public Housing
Some reminders about Public Charge:
- Public Charge only applies to people who are looking to apply for green cards. If you already have a green card, Public Charge rules do not apply to you.
- Public Charge rules also do not apply to people with asylum, VAWA, T Visas, or U Visas
- Resources related to preventing and treating COVID-19 will never count towards Public Charge designation
What is “Public Charge”?
Public Charge is a ground of inadmissibility, which means a reason someone could be denied an immigration benefit. It is a test used by the government to determine if someone seeking admission to the United States (applying for permanent residence/a green card) is likely to depend on public benefits in the future.
Immigration officials will consider a variety of circumstances, including a family’s income, age, education, how likely the applicant is to be employed, and whether a person has used certain public programs.
This test does not apply to many categories of immigrants!