Recent Changes Bring More Humane Approach to Public Charge Rules

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made recent amendments to regulations surrounding public charge rules and when noncitizens can be considered “inadmissible” to the United States. These changes, effective December 23, 2022, make the process more humane and provide clarification on who can afford to sponsor someone entering the U.S. and when someone needs a co-sponsor.

Reversing Trump-era Changes to Public Charge Rules

These changes revert public charge rules to nearly the same rules as implemented in 1999. Those changes remained in effect until the administration of former President Donald Trump implemented harsher and more difficult circumstances for those who want to sponsor a green card applicant (including family members).

Updating Form I-485

The new rules resulted in an updated version of Form I-485 for applicants to include new questions aimed at determining the odds of an applicant becoming a public charge during their time in the country. The rule states that “in making an inadmissibility determination, administering agencies must” consider the following factors of an applicant:

There are numerous questions on the new Form I-485 that directly address these factors, but it is not made clear exactly how much weight each piece of information factors into an inadmissibility determination.

Any forms filed after December 23, 2022, will see the new public charge rule applied.

Certain Government Programs No Longer Impact Admissibility

DHS clarified public charge regulations by stating certain programs will not be factored into an applicant’s admissibility into the U.S.

Programs that will no longer be factored in include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Medicaid
  • Housing Benefits
  • Benefits relating to immunization or testing for communicable diseases

The past or current receipt of these benefits will not render an applicant automatically inadmissible.

File With the help of an Immigration Expert

The team at Valvo & Associates supports these recent changes, but we also understand how regulatory changes can make a complicated process even more difficult for applicants. Our team stands ready to assist applicants, families, and businesses in navigating Form I-485 and other immigration matters for applicants and sponsors. Contact us if you have questions or need assistance navigating the application or appeal process.

By Brandon Valvo