US Public Charge Wealth Test Rule Reimposed

The Trump Administration will be reimposing the controversial public charge rule following recent court rulings.

The announcement came as two courts overturned a court ruling from July, which had blocked the use of the public charge rule on the grounds that it was hampering efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the 2019 public charge rule, US officials are afforded greater powers to deny Green Card applicants who the Government deems are reliant on, or could rely on, public benefits such as enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in certain federally funded Medicaid benefits, and a variety of forms of government-subsidized housing vouchers.

In July, the rule was blocked following testimonies from medical professionals and local officials stating immigrants were opting not to seek public aid through fear it would be detrimental to their immigration status.

However, the July ruling was limited and then suspended by multiple subsequent court orders.

USCIS has confirmed in updated guidance on its website that the rule will be applied to all future and pending Green Card applications filed after February 24, 2020, ie following the Supreme Court’s approval of implementation of the rule.

The guidance states that applications decided after the July ruling would not be subject to re-adjudication.

US immigration advice

NNU Immigration are specialist US attorneys based in London. For advice on US visas or immigration, including guidance on policy and rule developments, please contact us.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Last updated: September 23, 2020