Today USCIS announced that, except for in the state of Illinois, it will implement its public charge rule as of Monday, February 24, 2020. USCIS is expected to publish updated forms, instructions and guidance on its website during the week of February 3, 2020.
As previously reported, in general, individuals seeking admission to the U.S. must show they are not likely to become a public charge. The new public charge rule dramatically expands the definition of pubic charge for individuals seeking to extend or change their temporary status in the U.S., as well as for individuals applying for lawful permanent resident status.
Nonimmigrants seeking a change or extension of status in the U.S. will be required to show that they have not received certain public benefits exceeding a designated threshold as of the rule’s implementation date. Information about the public charge rule, including the implicated benefits, may be found here.
Individuals applying for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident will be required to provide extensive financial documentation, including credit reports, to establish that they will not become a public charge in the future. These individuals will be subject to a discretionary “totality of circumstances” test that will weigh such factors as the applicant’s age, health, household size, level of education and skills, financial assets and liabilities, among others. Applicants may be subject to ongoing credit checks while their applications are pending, over months, and in many cases, years.
Gibney will be working with clients to prepare for these substantial changes. Foreign nationals and their employers should expect that it will take longer to analyze, prepare and file applications given the scope of the new public charge inquiry and the increased documentation that will required.