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New Public Charge Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency Explained by Immigration Lawyer | Part 2

Andrea I. Scheer, an immigration attorney with the law firm Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP, discussed last week part 1 of the new public charge rule that went into effect on February 24, 2020; and who it affects. In today’s edition of LIVE with PPID, Ms. Scheer discusses Form I-944, the Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, which must now be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in part 2.

Form I-944 must now accompany all family-based adjustment of status applications.

 

PROS

The good news is that there are a lot of you who are exempt from this form, as I mentioned in my last video such as; asylees, refugees, victims of trafficking, victims of crime and victims of domestic violence, amongst others.

There is also no filing fee on this form.

 

CONS

The bad news is that the form is very complex and intimidating. One can get discouraged just by looking at it.

The form itself is 18 pages long and the accompanying instructions on how to fill out the form are 15 pages long. Estimates suggest that it can take between 6 to 10 hours to complete.

The ultimate purpose of this form is to make it harder for lower-income people to be able to sponsor their loved ones for a green card.

 

Declaration of Self-Sufficiency Form I-944

You must submit Form I-944 with your initial application. If you do not submit the form with your initial application, it will be rejected.

You have to provide information regarding your

  • Work history
  • Work skills
  • Educational history
  • English language ability
  • Financial information regarding your assets or liabilities
  • Health insurance information
  • Amongst others

On top of that, you have to supplement this information with supporting documentation.

As discussed in my last video, USCIS will apply a totality of the circumstances standard and any negative factors can be mitigated by positive ones.

This new form poses challenges for practitioners as well. For the past several months we have had to attend multiple webinars and informational sessions to educate ourselves on how to tackle this form.

It is unduly burdensome on immigrants and it is meant to deter you from applying.

There is a very real possibility that if you file this form incorrectly, and if you do not submit all of the necessary supporting evidence, your adjustment of status application will be denied. And if it is denied, you may be placed in removal proceedings with the immigration court.

As I discussed in my last video, having a sponsor fill out Form I-864 on your behalf will now be secondary to Form I-944. There is also a possibility that immigrants will have to post bond in order to demonstrate that they will not become a public charge. This has very problematic consequences.

Before you decide to apply for adjustment of status and tackle Form I-944 on your own, you have to consider whether or not you will be able to demonstrate that you will not become a public charge.

Again, the form is very difficult and daunting, but rest assured, we are here to help and to guide you through the process. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Please consult with a U.S. immigration attorney if you have questions about the new public charge rule or Form I-944 by calling 212-203-4795.

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