Update: On Monday, January 27, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may proceed with the implementation of the new public charge regulation, which will start on February 24, 2020 in all states except Illinois.
OISS recommends that international students and scholars do not seek the public benefits referenced in the August 14, 2019 update below. If you are considering public assistance, please make an appointment with OISS so we may discuss how it may impact your immigration status.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact OISS at any time.
Update: On October 11, 2019, a federal district court judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the enforcement of the DHS public charge rule, which had been set to go into effect on October 15, 2019. The court order blocks DHS and USCIS from enforcing, applying or treating as effective the DHS public charge policy. The order also stops DHS from implementing or requiring the use of any new or updated forms (I-129, I-1539, etc.) whose submission would have been required under the Rule. If the public charge rule later goes into effect, the Rule's stated effective date of October 15, 2019 shall be replaced with a date after the injunction has ended. For more information, please see NAFSA’s Final Rules on Public Charge Determinations. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.
On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule related to public charge in the Federal Register. The rule will not take effect until October 15, 2019. Additionally, many organizations have stated they will file lawsuits challenging the rule which could delay implementation.
Public charge is a term used to refer to a person who is primarily dependent on the government for support. The new rule expands the definition of who is considered a public charge. Under the new rule, a foreign national may be considered a public charge if he or she has received one or more certain public benefits for more than a combined 12 months within any 36-month period. Benefit programs considered for public charge are:
Also, USCIS will create a new form, Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency that I-485 adjustment of status (green card) applicants will have to complete to provide information on receipt of public benefits. The final rule will also require USCIS to update the following forms, in addition to others, with questions about receipt of public benefits:
OISS recommends that international students and scholars do not seek the above public benefits. If you are considering public assistance, please make an appointment with OISS so we may discuss how it may impact your immigration status.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will post any new updates on this page. For additional resources, please see the NAFSA Association of International Educators website and Fact Sheet: Changes to Public Charge. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.