Applicants for lawful permanent residence have to show they will not require financial support by the government to live in the United States—that they will not be a “public charge.” The standards for determining whether someone is likely to become a public charge have recently been defined by a new final rule, and the form to apply for permanent residency is changing.
Starting December 23, 2022, USCIS requires the use of a new I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status which includes changes to questions related to public charge inadmissibility.
Under this new final rule, an applicant will be found inadmissible under the public charge ground if they have used one of the following public benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); state tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance; and/or long-term care at government expense. Most applicants for adjustment are not eligible for these programs. Use of these programs by eligible family members should not disqualify applicants.
A number of applicants will not be required to show they are not public charges including: asylees and refugees, U nonimmigrants, T nonimmigrants, VAWA self-petitioners and special immigrant juveniles.
It is important to note that there are a number of public assistance programs that USCIS will not be considered when making a public charge determination. Applicants who benefit from certain public programs will not be found ineligible for residency solely based on such use. These include:
- Nutrition programs (Example: SNAP, WIC)
- Health programs (Example: Medicaid, CHIP)
- Housing programs
- Education and childcare programs
- And others
If you have any questions or concerns about the new public charge rule or the use of public assistance, please contact Knudson & Associates to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.