At a glance

  • DHS's new public charge regulation is set to take effect on February 24, 2020 in all U.S. states but Illinois, where a court injunction prevents implementation of the rule for the time being.
  • Adjustment of status applicants will be required to provide detailed financial and credit documentation to support their applications.
  • Nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or change of status will be required to disclose certain public benefits they receive or are certified to receive on or after February 24, 2020.

The issue

Starting February 24, 2020, foreign nationals applying for adjustment of status to permanent residence will be subject to a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation that redefines the test for the "public charge" ground of inadmissibility. On the same day, nonimmigrants will become subject to a new public charge condition on their ability to change or extend nonimmigrant status.

The new public charge requirements will affect most USCIS Form I-485 adjustment applications and Forms I-129 and I-539 applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status postmarked on or after February 24, 2020, with some exceptions. Adjustment applicants will be required to disclose a great deal of personal financial information and related documentation. Applicants for a change or extension of nonimmigrant status will be required to disclose whether they have accepted or been certified to receive certain government benefits.

The attached document contains answers to frequently asked questions about the complex new public charge requirements. Fragomen is closely monitoring the public charge regulation and will provide updates to this FAQ as the government begins to implement the new regulation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.