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Public Charge

New York Lawyers Handle Matters Relating to the Revised Public Charge Rule and Form I-944

Skillful immigration attorneys help with Declarations of Self-Sufficiency

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) scrutinizes admission applications to determine if a prospective immigrant should be denied because they are likely to rely on public assistance. Recently, USCIS has produced a new, stricter rule that puts an added burden on the applicant to present clear proof they will not become a public charge. Therefore, if you are applying for a green card, it’s more important than ever that you receive reliable advice from a knowledgeable immigration attorney. At Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP in New York City, we have provided trustworthy counsel on immigration matters since the 1980s. We can help you present a clear declaration of self-sufficiency that helps make the strongest possible case for admission.

The new public charge rule for green card applications

The new, stricter Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule went into effect on February 24, 2020 with four major changes:

  • Totality of the circumstances standard — The rule now asks whether a person is “likely at any time to use or receive one or more public benefits.” Officers will now look at a range of factors, such as age, income, education, health, family and employment to determine whether a likelihood of becoming a public charge at some point exists.
  • Expansive definition of public benefits — The new rule adds to the list of programs that are considered public benefits. These include non-cash benefits, such as SNAP, non-emergency Medicaid, public housing, Section 8 vouchers and institutionalization for long-term care. The new rule does not classify emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch program or the children’s health insurance program as disqualifying public benefits. Likewise, benefits used by your U.S. citizen children are not taken into account. Fortunately, the rule is not retroactive, so if you received any of the newly included benefits before February 24, 2020, they will not be counted against you. You cannot receive more than 12 months of total benefits in a three-year period. However, the rule counts each benefit separately, so if you receive two benefits in the same month, you would have two months of benefits on your record.
  • Rule now applies to extension of nonimmigrant visas — If you entered the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and want to extend your stay beyond your current expiration date, you must pass scrutiny under the new public charge rule.
  • Less emphasis on the affidavit of support — Previously, the sworn statement of a United States citizen or permanent resident sponsor was sufficient to show that an applicant for a green card would not later become a public charge. Under the new totality of circumstances standard, the affidavit is simply one factor among many.

There are exceptions to the new rule. An immigration attorney at our firm can help assess you the facts in your situation might be evaluated under the current standards. If your case falls under the new rule, we can assemble the evidence to present your argument effectively.

Lawyers assist with statements relating to immigrants’ financial assets

One of the most important filings for someone seeking residence in the United States is Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. This detailed document lists assets and resources you can count on to prevent you from financial hardship as you adjust to life in the United States. You are also required to disclose debts. This document carries great weight, so it’s important to get trustworthy advice from a knowledgeable immigration attorney regarding its completion.

Contact our New York City immigration attorneys for answers to the public charge questions

Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP in New York City assists green card applicants with a range of matters, including issues relating to possible inadmissibility on public charge grounds. Call us today at 800-223-2814 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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