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What is the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rule in immigration?

| Jan 29, 2021 | Family Immigration

Immigration is a complex process in the United States, and there are a lot of pitfalls. One of those is the fact that your ability to obtain certain kinds of visas and immigrate can hinge on whether or not you are deemed to be sufficiently self-supporting.

If you aren’t, you can quickly find yourself struggling against being labeled a “public charge.”

What is the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule?

The DHS rule went into effect on Aug. 14, 2019, and outlines the federal government’s policy for admitting individuals into this country. This legislation only allows applicants that have the means to support themselves to receive certain visas. This federal law applies to both those looking to come here and any temporary residents looking to become lawful permanent ones. 

The rule doesn’t apply to anyone who receives a DHS waiver or that Congress exempts from meeting this eligibility requirement, including asylum seekers and refugees. Some crime and human trafficking victims, such as juveniles and those who fall under the protection of the Violence Against Women Act are not subject to that rule.

What public benefits do federal officials consider in making determinations?

DHS officials look to see if an applicant received public benefits for 12 of the last 36 months leading up to their change of status application when making a determination. A family members’ receipt of public benefits doesn’t matter if you’re related to a member of the U.S. armed forces or the natural-born or adopted child of a U.S. citizen, though. 

Federal officials also don’t count the receipt of certain Medicaid benefits against a prospective applicant, including if the recipient was under 21, pregnant or 60-days postpartum. DHS is also unlikely to consider an applicant’s receipt of emergency Medicaid or any support they received as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. 

Will you qualify for entry or adjustment of status?

Your eligibility to enter the U.S. or to adjust your status here in Pennsylvania isn’t a guarantee. Your eligibility to do so is mostly contingent upon your adherence to the eligibility criteria for whatever family visa you seek. With the nature of immigration these days, it’s definitely wisest to seek experienced legal assistance with your Pittsburgh petition for a visa, change in status or other immigration problem.