Public Charge Rule to Take Effect February 24, 2020

Beginning Monday, February 24, 2020, USCIS will be implementing its new public charge rule. Under this new policy, the government will weigh a totality of factors to determine whether a person is a public charge and thus inadmissible to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder). This applies only for those applying for Green Cards.

Further, some Green Card applicants are not subject to a public charge test, including refugees, asylees, U Visa, T Visa, VAWA, Special Immigrant Juvenile, TPS Applicants, and US Citizens.

The public charge test only applies when a person is applying for a green card. Additionally, many public benefits are not part of the public charge program, this includes: WIC, Medicaid for pregnant women and up to 60 days postpartum, emergency Medicaid, Medicaid used by children under 21, Head Start, and free and reduced cost school lunches. Please also note that private insurance with ACA subsidies should not be a negative factor to public charge.

Please feel free to contact our office if you are concerned that you are using a benefit that could be a problem. If you are applying for a Green Card please do not use the benefits listed below if you are not eligible.

The public charge test does consider the use of the following by individuals applying for the Green Card (not relatives who are eligible for such benefits, even if they live in the household): federally-funded Medicaid (except for emergency, pregnancy, and use by children); federally-funded Food Stamps (SNAP); federal public housing, Section 8 housing assistance and project-based rental assistance; federal, state, and local cash assistance; and long-term institutionalized care paid for by the federal government.

Please also be aware the Green Card applications filed after February 24, 2020, will be subject to new intensive forms and a significant increase in documentation relating to the public charge.

Additionally, please note that the public charge rule does not currently apply to residents of Illinois due to court order. 



Travel Ban Expanded

On January 31, 2020, President Trump announced via Executive Order an additional six countries to be included in its ongoing travel ban. Citizens from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania will now be banned from obtaining certain visas to come to the United States. 

To date the ban affects people coming from the following countries: 

  • Eritrea 
  • Iran
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Libya
  • Myanmar
  • North Korea
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tanzania 
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen