Public charge is a term used in immigration law to refer to an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for financial support. It can affect your eligibility for a visa or green card.
You might wonder about public charge determinations and their role in your immigration application.
Which benefits factor into public charge determinations?
The government considers certain means-tested public benefits when evaluating whether someone is likely to become a public charge. These may include cash assistance, Supplemental Security Income and long-term care.
Who is subject to public charge considerations?
The rules for public charge consideration vary with immigration status. Some family-sponsored immigrants and refugees are exempt from consideration.
What factors apply to public charge considerations?
Immigration officials consider age, health, income and education as part of the public charge determination. They also evaluate the Affidavit of Support from the immigrant’s sponsor. This Affidavit helps to demonstrate the financial support available for the immigrant. The more financially stable an immigrant is, the less risk there is of that individual needing public support.
Does the public charge ruling apply to all family members?
Public charge determinations apply to individuals. Each member of a family faces their own evaluation. One family member being inadmissible does not preclude other family members from eligibility.
The U.S. Department of State refused 20,941 immigrant visa applications in 2019 on public charge grounds. Navigating public charge and immigration matters can be challenging, but understanding the basics and staying informed about any changes in the law is crucial. When you submit your immigration application, include as much information as possible to support your financial stability.