DHS’s Public Charge Final Rule Goes into Effect on December 23

On December 23, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility final rule will go into effect. This final rule, which was previously announced, provides clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility. This final rule restores the historical understanding of a “public charge” that had been in place for decades before the previous administration began to consider supplemental public health benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

When making a public charge inadmissibility determination under this final rule, DHS will consider an applicant’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; education and skills;” a sufficient Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA (when one is required); and prior or current receipt of: supplemental Security Income (SSI); cash assistance for income maintenance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); State, Tribal, territorial, or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance”); or long-term institutionalization at government expense.

DHS will not consider receipt of noncash benefits (for example, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, public housing, school lunch programs, etc.) other than long-term institutionalization at government expense.

USCIS published a Policy Manual update providing guidance to USCIS officers on how to implement this regulation fairly and consistently and informing the public about how the rule will be implemented. USCIS will begin applying the policy guidance (PDF, 1.55 MB) on December 23, 2022, to applications filed (or electronically submitted, if applicable) on or after that date.

USCIS has published the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, for applicants to prepare their applications in advance of December 23, 2022. DO NOT file the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 before December 23, 2022. We will reject any Form I-485 with the edition date of 12/23/22 filed before December 23, 2022.

What to Know About Sending Us Your Form

– USCIS will reject the 07/15/22 edition of Form I-485 if it is postmarked on or after December 23, 2022.

– USCIS will reject the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 if it is postmarked on or before December 22, 2022.

Additional information, including FAQs and an infographic (PDF, 599.54 KB), are available on the Public Charge Resources page.

USCIS link: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/dhss-public-charge-final-rule-goes-into-effect-on-dec-23

Policy Alert: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/policy-manual-updates/20221219-PublicChargeFinalRule.pdf