USCIS will Start Implementation of the Public Charge Rule on February 24

USCIS has announced that it will begin implementation of the public charge inadmissibility rule beginning February 24, 2020.

As previously discussed, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the injunction on enforcement of the rule on January 27. The rule had previously been expected to go into effect in October 2019, before a nationwide injunction was imposed, pending challenges to the rule in federal court.

The most recent announcement makes clear that implementation of the rule for USCIS purposes means use of new form versions, which are expected to be posted to the uscis.gov website this week. It is likely that the form versions will be very similar to those released in anticipation of the rule becoming effective last October, and which included detailed questions about the applicant/beneficiary’s receipt or use of federal, state, or local public benefits. DHS will not take into account applications for, certification for, approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits that occurred prior to February 24, 2020. It is expected that only public benefits received on or after February 24 will be considered.

Implementation of the rule will not affect Illinois for the time being, where the injunction against the rule remains in effect and current form versions will continue to be accepted. It is not yet clear how the Illinois exception will be determined – by residency of the petitioner, beneficiary, or applicant, for example, or use of Illinois public benefits.

Petitioners and applicants who are currently preparing applications to be filed with USCIS should therefore plan to file them prior to February 24, as the current versions of the forms will no longer be accepted after the 24th.

By: Rebecca Chen

Rebecca is a partner and senior practice manager at Reddy & Neumann and represents clients in employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa cases. She advises clients throughout the visa application process, from initial filing, responding to various requests for evidence, and processing at overseas consulates.