Who is affected by the Public Charge Rule in 2020?

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the public charge rule and who is affected.


Several categories of people are affected by the public charge rule:

The first category of people primarily affected by the public charge rule are applicants filing for adjustment of status on Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

The second category of people affected by the rule are foreign nationals applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad.

Also affected are nonimmigrants applying for a change of status in the United States.

The fourth category of affected applicants are individuals with a non-immigrant or immigrant visa seeking admission at the United States border.

Finally, green card holders seeking re-entry who have been absent from the United States for more than 6 months will be affected by the rule.

Who is most affected by this rule?

Applicants applying for adjustment of status will be most affected by this rule, such as spouses of U.S. Citizens, unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. Citizen, or parents of a U.S. Citizens (if the U.S. Citizen is 21 years of age or older) filing Form I-485.

This class of individuals will be required to file Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency along with Form I-485 to demonstrate they are not likely to become a public charge. USCIS will then review the individual’s application and make an evaluation based on several factors (age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills) to determine whether the applicant is likely to become a public charge.

This same evaluation will apply to individuals applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy. Such applicants may be questioned by immigration officials about their likelihood to become a public charge but are not required to file Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.

Finally, non-immigrant visa applicants will still be affected by the public charge rule, but not to the same extent, because non-immigrant visa applicants are already required to demonstrate that they have the sufficient financial resources to sustain their stay in the United States as part of the application process. Therefore, immigration officers still have the ability to further question applicants regarding their assets, resources, financial status, etc. but are not as likely to do so because this class of applicants must already provide this information as part of the application process.

Who will not be affected?

Several special categories of immigrants will not be affected by the public charge rule including asylum applicants, U visa applicants, certain refugees, certain classes of Amerasians, etc.

For more information about the public charge rule please visit our blog post to learn more about the rule.

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