Immigration Update: Public Charge Rule Ended

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a breaking news update: the government has officially ended the public charge rule.

How did this happen? What does this mean for you?

Keep on watching to find out more.


On March 9, 2021 the government announced that effective immediately it would be rescinding the Trump administration’s public charge rule, which was first put in place by former President Donald Trump in 2019. That rule is no longer in effect due to the Biden administration’s decision to no longer oppose the rule.

The government revealed its decision by way of a final rule published in the Federal Register that removes the 2019 public charge regulations as of March 9, 2021.

The Department of Homeland Security will now return to its previous policy of following the 1999 Interim Field Guidance to determine whether a person would be likely to become a public charge on the U.S. government. As before, petitioners are still required to submit Form I-864 Affidavit of Support and demonstrate that they meet the income requirement to sponsor their relative in the United States.

For its part, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also said that it has stopped the immediate enforcement of the rule as a result of the government’s actions.

What does this decision mean for you?

The decision to rescind the public charge rule means that the government is no longer applying the public charge rule to adjustment of status applicants, immigrant visa petitions at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, and applications for extension or change of nonimmigrant status.

Accordingly, such applicants will no longer need to provide information, nor evidence relating to the public charge rule including Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency.

Additionally, the government will no longer consider a person a public charge who received any of the following benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period:

  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid
  • Non-Emergency Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance and
  • Certain other forms of subsidized housing.

The government will also abandon its eight-factor “totality of the circumstances” test to determine whether a green card applicant is likely to become a public charge based on age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills.

How will USCIS treat the rescission of the rule?

USCIS will not be applying the 2019 public charge rule to any application filed on or after March 9, 2021. That means that applicants will no longer need to file Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency nor any supporting documents for this form.

What about people that already filed that have received a RFE or NOID based on the public charge rule?

If you have received a request for evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) requesting information required by the 2019 public charge rule (such as Form I-944 and supporting documentation), and your response is due on or after March 9, 2021, you will no longer need to provide that information.

However, applicants will need to respond to any portion or aspect of the RFE or NOID that has to do with anything other than the public charge rule.

What about people applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad?

Those applying for immigrant visas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad do not need to worry about the public charge rule. This rule has not been applied by the Department of State as of July of 2020. With this rescission it will no longer be pursued by both DHS and DOS.

Do you still need to submit I-864 Affidavit of Support and supporting documents for this form?

Yes. The requirement to file I-864 Affidavit of Support has not changed. All applicants for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa must provide this form along with supporting documentation demonstrating the petitioner’s financial ability.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

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