Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility for US Applicants


Self-sufficiency has long been an important principle to immigration law since our nation’s earliest immigration statutes. Since the 1800s, Congress announced that aliens are inadmissible to the US  if they are  unable to care for themselves without becoming  public charges.

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule regarding how they determine if someone applying for admission or adjustment of status is likely at any time to become a public charge.

What is Public Charge?

The ground of inadmissibility are reasons an individual could be denied entry, a visa, or a green card in the United States that doesn’t apply to everyone. The term “public charge” is a type of ground of inadmissibility, in this case, someone that needs government benefits. When deciding to grant or deny an applicant, an immigration offer must decide whether that person is likely to become dependent on certain government benefits in the future.

Final Rule

On February 24, 2020, the USCIS implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule nationwide, including in Illinois. USCIS will apply the final rule to all applications and petitions postmarked on or after February 24th.

COVID-19 Update: On July 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court enjoined the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing, applying, implementing the Public Change Final Rule for any period during which there is a national health emergency because of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Benefits Considered  

DHS will only consider public benefits listed in the rule which includes:   

  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Any federal, state, local, or tribal cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called general assistance)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation)
  • Public Housing
  • Federally funded Medicaid (some exclusions)

Benefits Not Considered  

DHS will not consider:  

  • Emergency medical assistance  
  • Disaster relief
  • National school lunch programs 
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children 
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program  
  • Subsidies for foster care and adoption
  • Government-subsidized student and mortgage loans
  • Energy assistance
  • Food pantries and homeless shelters
  • Head Start

Public Charge Exemption

The final rule does not apply to:

US citizens, even if the US citizen is related to a noncitizen who is subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility


Aliens whom Congress exempted from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, such as:

  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas
  • Individuals applying under the Violence Against Women Act  
  • Special immigrant juveniles
  • Those to whom DHS  has granted  a waiver of public charge inadmissibility.  
  • Certain nonimmigrant trafficking and crime victims

Are You Interested in Immigrating to the US?

If you find yourself affected by this announcement and need legal assistance, contact VisaPlace today. All of our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

Have a Question related to your Immigration Needs?

Fill out the FREE Immigration Assessment form and get a response within 24 hours to see if you’re eligible.

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