A federal judge of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan has enjoined the federal government from enforcing, applying, implementing or treating as effective, the USCIS final rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.

What Happened?

The federal judge said the government is prohibited from enforcing, applying, implementing or treating as effective the Public Charge rule for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These injunctions are nationwide.

The judge issued another order enjoining the Department of State from implementing, or taking any actions to enforce or apply, the following policies related to the public charge during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • 2018 FAM Revisions
  • The DOS Interim Final Rule on Visa Ineligibility on Public Charge Grounds (84 FR 54996, 10/11/19)
  • The President's October 4, 2019 Proclamation: Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System in Order to Protect the Availability of Healthcare Benefits for Americans (84 FR 53991)

USCIS has indicated that it will now apply the 1999 public charge guidance for as long as the judge's decision remains in effect.

According to USCIS, they will not consider any information provided by an applicant or petitioner that relates to the Public Charge Rule, including information provided on the Form I-944, or information on the receipt of public benefits on the following forms:

  • Part 5 on Form I-1539
  • Part 3 on Form I-539A
  • Part 6 on Form I-129

Who Does This Impact?

This announcement impacts both nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories. Nonimmigrant categories include: H-1B, TN, L, O and E, and immigrant categories include all green cards.

Anyone with applications or petitions postmarked on or after July 29, 2020 should not include the Form I-944 or provide information about the receipt of public benefits on Form I-485, Form I-129 or Form I-539/I-539A.

USCIS said it will issue further guidance about the use of affected forms and will not reject any Form I-485 on the basis of the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944, nor Forms I-129 and I-539 based on whether the aforementioned parts have been completed or omitted.

How Are Envoy and GIA Responding?

Both Envoy and GIA are following the situation closely and adjusting filings per the district court order and USCIS guidance.

What Do I Need To Do Next?

Should you have any questions regarding this update, please reach out via the Envoy Communication Center.

Originally published 04 August, 2020

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