Being considered a public charge may result in denial of entry or permanent residence in the United States. Now, what exactly is public charge? Today, at Urbina Immigration Law, we will analyze everything you need to know about this law and its legal implications.
For immigration assistance, rely on our experienced attorneys. Whether it is regularizing your status, facing deportation or reuniting your loved ones, we are here to guide you. Do not risk your future. Tell us your case and get the help you need.
Table Of Contents
What is public charge?
Public charge law refers to the consideration of whether an applicant for a visa or permanent residence may rely on public assistance. This may affect eligibility for certain benefits and require proof of financial self-sufficiency, for example:
- Work history and letter of employment.
- Savings or financial assets.
- Financial endorsement from a citizen or legal resident.
- Letter from a financial sponsor.
- Proof of regular income, such as tax returns.
- Proof of education or training that increases employment prospects.
Please note that these tests may vary depending on the type of application. For this reason, it is important to have an immigration lawyer to advise you in order to present the corresponding evidence. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Contact us today and let’s gather the evidence you need together.
To whom does the public charge law apply?
In the following table you will find those to whom the public charge law applies and those who are exempt from falling under this category:
|Immigrant Status||Applicability of Public Charge|
|Individuals with student, work or family visas||Yes|
|Individuals applying for adjustment of status to permanent resident||Yes|
|Permanent residents who leave the country for six months or more||Yes|
|Asylum seekers or refugees||No|
|People renewing their residency||No|
|TPS, U-visa or T-visa holders||No|
|Immigrant minors in special situations||No|
|Applicants for U.S. citizenship||No|
It is important to remember that the applicability of the public charge may vary according to the individual situation of each applicant. For this reason, it is important to have the help of an immigration attorney. Talk to one of our attorneys and get the legal advice you deserve.
What government benefits can be considered by law as public charge?
Some of the governmental aids and/or benefits that may be considered by the public charge law are:
- Nutritional assistance program (such as “food stamps” or “food stamps”).
- Cash assistance for income maintenance:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- General state compensation or general aid
- Housing assistance (such as Section 8 and Public Housing).
- Long-term medical care in an institution (nursing home, government-paid psychiatric hospital, etc.).
However, being a beneficiary of government assistance does not immediately make you a public charge. Therefore, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney who can advise you as to whether or not your case can be considered a public charge.
What government benefits are not considered by the public charge law?
As we have said, being a beneficiary of government assistance does not immediately make you a public charge. So much so that some government benefits are not considered public charge law. Some of them are:
- Emergency Medicaid, children under 21, pregnant women, and new mothers.
- The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
- The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Health Care Marketplace (Obamacare).
- AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).
- Premium tax credit under the ACA.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit.
- COVID-19 testing, treatment & vaccination.
- Child care assistance.
- Disaster relief.
- Food dispensations.
- School lunches.
U Visa and public charge, how are they related?
As we have already seen, even though the beneficiaries of the U visa beneficiaries are eligible for certain government benefits and/or assistance, they are generally not considered a public charge. This is due to its special status as victims of crimes who have cooperated with the authorities in the investigation or prosecution.
However, keep in mind that immigration laws can change, affecting eligibility for public benefits for different categories of immigrants. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for up-to-date guidance on how the public charge law could affect your situation.
What do immigration officials evaluate to determine whether or not a person represents a public charge?
Immigration officers evaluate all of your circumstances to determine if you may represent a public charge to the state. Some aspects to consider are age, health, income, education and professional skills. In addition, positive and negative factors may be weighed.
I was a recipient of government assistance in the past, how do the changes in the public charge law affect me?
If you have used benefits in the past, changes in the law do not apply retroactively; only benefits received under the law in effect at the time your case was reviewed count. Benefits received before that date follow the old rules.
A family member receives a government benefit, can it affect me?
Benefits received by an applicant’s dependents do not influence your public charge assessment. Including your name on your child’s application does not mean that you have applied for benefits for yourself.
Legal Advice on Public Charge
As we have seen, being considered a public charge can affect your eligibility for various immigration benefits and even prevent you from entering the country. However, being a beneficiary of government assistance does not necessarily make it a burden, and there are even certain statuses and visas that are exempt from this law (such as asylum or U visa).
In this regard, the advice of an immigration attorney is essential to determine whether you can be considered a public charge and to guide you in your case. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. One of our experienced attorneys can evaluate your personal situation and provide you with specific advice to maximize your chances of success. Tell us your case and let’s fight together for your rights.
USCIS – Public Charge
Federal Register – Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility