202003.11
Last month the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Rule nationwide.

OVERVIEW: 

Last month the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Rule nationwide. This rule amends the regulations of how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines if an immigrant applying for an adjustment of status is inadmissible according to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Section 212(a)(4) of the INA states: “Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible[…] ”. (An alien is any person, not a citizen or national of the United States.) 


WHAT CHANGES UNDER NEW RULE?

Before the implementation of this rule, it was the petitioner (U.S. Resident or Citizen) and/or a co-sponsor who were required to demonstrate that they were able to support the alien who wanted to apply for an adjustment of status. With the petitioner or the co-sponsor stating that they would support the alien, and provide evidence of their capacity to support the non-citizen it was enough to prove that the alien would not become a public charge. Now, in addition to the above, the alien also has to file a new form called the Declaration of Self Sufficiency (Form I-944). The Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Rule changes the definitions for public charge and public benefit while also changing the standard of how DHS determines whether an immigrant is likely to become a public charge at any time in the future and is therefore inadmissible and ineligible for admission or adjustment of status. Currently, it will be considered a public charge for any person who applies to register as a permanent resident who is receiving public benefits has received public benefits for 12 months or more during the 36 month period prior to filing the I-944 or is likely to receive public benefits in the future.


WHO WILL BE REQUIRED TO FILE FORM I-944?

You must file this form if you are filing for an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485), and you are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Form I-944 is required for family-based and employment-based applicants filing after February 24, 2020.   In general, each applicant who submits Form I-485 must submit his or her own Form I-944 if the applicant is subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility.

There are exemptions for filing the I-944. Some of the exemptions are:

  • VAWA petitioners
  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • U-Visa petitioner

For a complete list of exemptions visit the USCIS website

Form I-944 is a complex 18-page form that requires the immigrant to submit financial, family and health information. In addition, the form requires the submittal of documentary evidence that supports the information submitted on the form. Every case is different and the required documents may vary depending on your case. 


REPRESENTATION BY COUNSEL:

Due to the constantly changing immigration laws, we recommend having a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney before filing this form. An immigration attorney can explain to you in detail this new form, its requirements, and how it applies to your case. An immigration attorney should file all necessary forms and submit the correct paperwork work on your behalf.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: