Skip to main content

Part G - Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

Alert

On Nov. 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019), as amended by Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Correction, 84 Fed. Reg. 52,357 (Oct. 2, 2019) (“Public Charge Final Rule”) nationwide. That decision was stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. On Mar. 9, 2021, the Seventh Circuit lifted its stay and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ order vacating the Public Charge Final Rule went into effect. 

USCIS immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to the rule. USCIS continues to apply the public charge inadmissibility statute, including consideration of the statutory minimum factors in the totality of the circumstances, in accordance with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance that was in place before the Public Charge Final Rule was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020, to the adjudication of any application for adjustment of status. In addition, USCIS will no longer apply the separate, but related, “public benefits condition” to applications or petitions for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status.

On or after Mar. 9, 2021, applicants and petitioners should not provide information required solely by the Public Charge Final Rule. That means that applicants for adjustment of status should not provide the Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, or any evidence or documentation required on that form with their Form I-485. Applicants and petitioners for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status should not provide information related to the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3).

If an applicant or petitioner has already provided such information, and USCIS adjudicates the application or petition on or after Mar. 9, 2021, USCIS will not consider any information provided that relates solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, including, for example, information provided on the Form I-944, evidence or documentation submitted with Form I-944, or information on the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3).

If you received a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) requesting information that is solely required by the Public Charge Final Rule, including but not limited to Form I-944, and your response is due on or after Mar. 9, 2021, you need not provide the information solely required by the Public Charge Final Rule. You do, however, need to respond to the aspects of the RFE or NOID that otherwise pertain to the eligibility for the immigration benefit sought. If USCIS requires additional information or evidence to make a public charge inadmissibility determination under the statute and consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, it will issue a subsequent RFE or NOID. or information about the relevant court decisions, please see the litigation summary.

USCIS will issue additional guidance regarding the use of affected forms. In the interim, USCIS will not reject any Form I-485 on the basis of the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944, and will not reject Form I-129, Form I-129CW, Form I-539, or Form I-539A based on whether the public benefits questions (Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3) have been completed or left blank.

 

In May 2020, USCIS retired its Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM), a collection of our immigration policies and procedures. We are working quickly to update and incorporate all of the AFM content into the USCIS Policy Manual, the agency’s centralized online repository for immigration policies. Until then, we have moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding Policy Manual Part. To the extent that a provision in the Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the Policy Manual prevails. If you have questions or concerns about any discrepancies among these resources, contact USCISPolicyManual@uscis.dhs.gov.

AFM Chapter 20 - Immigrants in General (External) (PDF, 385.41 KB)

Resources

Legal Authorities

10 U.S.C. 504(b) - Citizenship or residency

15 U.S.C. 1681 - Congressional findings and statement of purpose

21 U.S.C. 802 - Definitions

21 U.S.C. 841 - Prohibited acts A

22 CFR 40.51 - Labor certification

29 CFR 570 - Child labor regulations, orders and statements of interpretation

29 U.S.C. 213(c) - Child labor requirements

42 CFR 34.4 - Medical notifications

42 U.S.C. 1382c (PDF) - Definitions

42 U.S.C. 413 - Quarter and quarter of coverage

42 U.S.C. 416(l) - Retirement age

7 CFR 273 - Certification of eligible households

8 CFR 1.2 - Definitions

8 CFR 1.3 - Lawfully present aliens for purposes of applying for Social Security benefits

8 CFR 1003.14 - Jurisdiction and commencement of proceedings

8 CFR 1003.1 - Organization, jurisdiction, and powers of the Board of Immigration Appeals

8 CFR 204.5 - Petitions for employment-based immigrants

8 CFR 212.4 - Applications for the exercise of discretion under section 212(d)(1) and 212(d)(3)

8 CFR 213a - Affidavits of support on behalf of immigrants

8 CFR 235 - Inspection of persons applying for admission

8 CFR 245.11 - Adjustment of aliens in S nonimmigrant classification

8 CFR 292 - Representation and appearances

8 U.S.C. 1601-1646 - Restricting welfare and public benefits for aliens

8 U.S.C. 1611 (PDF) - Aliens who are not qualified aliens ineligible for Federal public benefits

8 U.S.C. 1612 (PDF) - Limited eligibility of qualified aliens for certain Federal programs

8 U.S.C. 1613 (PDF) - Five-year limited eligibility of qualified aliens for Federal means-tested public benefit

8 U.S.C. 1641 (PDF) - Definitions

INA 101 - Definitions

INA 101(a)(15) - Nonimmigrant classifications

INA 201 - Worldwide level of immigration

INA 203 - Allocation of immigrant visas

INA 208 - Asylum

INA 212(a)(4) - Public charge

INA 212(d) - Temporary admission of nonimmigrants

INA 213 - Admission of certain aliens on giving bond or undertaking; return upon permanent departure

INA 235 - Inspection by immigration officers; expedited removal of inadmissible arriving aliens; referral for hearing

INA 237(a)(5) - Public charge (deportable aliens)

INA 239, 8 CFR 239 - Initiation of removal proceedings

INA 245(j) - Adjustment to permanent resident status

INA 2488 CFR 248 - Change of nonimmigrant classification

INA 289 - Application to American Indians born in Canada

Pub. L. 104-193 (PDF) - Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996

Pub. L. 104-208 (PDF) - Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996

Pub. L. 106-395 (PDF) - Child Citizenship Act of 2000

Pub. L. 111-293 (PDF) - Help Haitian Adoptees Immediately to Integrate Act of 2010

Pub. L. 111-8 (PDF) - Section 602(b), Title VI of the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009

Pub. L. 113-4 (PDF) - 127 Stat 54 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Pub. L. 89-732 (PDF) - Cuban Refugees Adjustment of Status

Section 11, 26 Stat 1084 (PDF) of the Immigration Act of 1891

Section 212(a)(15), 66 Stat 163 (PDF), 183 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

Sections 1-2, 22 Stat 214 (PDF) of the Immigration Act of 1882

Appendices

Appendix: Applicability of INA 212(a)(4) to Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications
Appendix: Applicability of INA 212(a)(4) to Family-Based Adjustment of Status Applications
Appendix: Applicability of INA 212(a)(4) to Other Applicants
Appendix: Applicability of INA 212(a)(4) to Refugee, Asylee, and Parolee Adjustment of Status Applications
Appendix: Applicability of INA 212(a)(4) to Special Immigrant Adjustment of Status Applications
Appendix: Historical Public Charge Guidance

Volume 2: Nonimmigrants, Part A, Nonimmigrant Policies and Procedures

Volume 8: Admissibility, Part G, Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

Volume 12: Citizenship and Naturalization, Part D, General Naturalization Requirements

Updates

Technical Update - Removing Guidance on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

This technical update removes the guidance in Volume 2, Part A, Chapter 4, Volume 8, Part G, and Volume 12, Part D, Chapter 2 relating to the administration of the public charge ground of inadmissibility under the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule, 84 FR 41292 (Aug. 14, 2019); as amended by Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Correction, 84 FR 52357 (Oct. 2, 2019) ( “Public Charge Final Rule”), which was implemented on Feb. 24, 2020. On Nov. 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the Public Charge Final Rule nationwide. On Nov. 3, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an administrative stay and, on Nov. 19, 2020, a stay pending appeal of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ Nov. 2, 2020 decision. On Mar. 9, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit lifted its stay and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ order vacating the Public Charge Final Rule went into effect. USCIS immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to the rule. For information on related litigation affecting implementation, see our litigation summary.

Technical Update - Removing WA Food Assistance Program from the List of Public Benefits Considered

This technical update removes the WA Food Assistance Program for Legal Immigrants from the list of examples of state, local, and tribal cash assistance programs that are considered income maintenance for purposes of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

Technical Update - Moving the Adjudicator’s Field Manual Content into the USCIS Policy Manual

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF, 327.05 KB) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.

POLICY ALERT - Implementation of Guidance on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

Note: On Nov. 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the Public Charge Final Rule nationwide. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit later issued a stay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ Nov. 2, 2020 decision. On Mar. 9, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit lifted the stay and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ order vacating the Public Charge Final Rule went into effect. USCIS immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to the rule. For information on related litigation affecting implementation, see our litigation summary. The alert text below and related guidance are no longer in effect.

This update incorporates into Volumes 2, 8, and 12 policy guidance that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced February 5, 2020, implementing the Inadmissibility of Public Charge Grounds Final Rule. This guidance is in effect as of February 24, 2020 and applies nationwide to all applications and petitions postmarked on or after that date. Certain classes of aliens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility (such as refugees, asylees, certain VAWA self-petitioners, U petitioners, and T applicants) and therefore, are not subject to the Final Rule. For more information about the classes of [noncitizens] who are exempt from the Final Rule, see the appendices related to applicability. For information on related litigation affecting implementation, see our page on the injunction.

Read More
POLICY ALERT - Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility

Note: On Nov. 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the Public Charge Final Rule nationwide. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit later issued a stay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ Nov. 2, 2020 decision. On Mar. 9, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit lifted the stay and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ order vacating the Public Charge Final Rule went into effect. USCIS immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to the rule. For information on related litigation affecting implementation, see our litigation summary. The alert text below and related guidance are no longer in effect.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address the final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility. This policy guidance is effective on February 24, 2020, and will apply to all applicants and petitioners filing applications and petitions for adjustment of status, extension of stay, and change of status, except for applicants and petitioners in the State of Illinois, whose cases will be adjudicated under prior policy, including the 1999 Interim Field Guidance (PDF) and AFM Ch. 61.1 (PDF, 77.92 KB). For additional information, see Public Charge Inadmissibility Determinations in Illinois. Certain classes of aliens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility (such as refugees, asylees, certain VAWA self-petitioners, U petitioners, and T applicants) and therefore, are not subject to the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. For more information about the classes of [noncitizens] who are exempt from the final rule, see the appendices related to applicability.

Read More
Technical Update - Replacing the Term “Foreign National”

This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].