Public Charge Rule Update: Changes at USCIS, Department of Justice, and Department of State

Posted on Aug 13, 2020

As a result of recent federal court rulings, USCIS, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of State have issued new guidance on how the Public Charge Rule (originally implemented on February 24, 2020) will be applied.

In sum, USCIS has announced that it will not apply the February 24, 2020 Public Charge Rule to the adjudication of any I-485 application for adjustment of status on or after July 29, 2020.  Instead, USCIS will apply the 1999 public charge guidance that was in place before the February 24, 2020 Public Charge became effective. 

This is confirmed on USCIS’s website which provides:

USCIS will issue guidance regarding the use of affected forms. In the interim, USCIS 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 Part 6, or Part 5, respectively, has been completed or left blank.

(https://www.uscis.gov/i-539)

In addition, this new guidance also affects nonimmigrants who are filing I-129 petitions and I-539 applications, as USCIS has confirmed that it will adjudicate any application or petition for extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status on or after July 29, 2020, consistent with regulations in place before the Public Charge Rule was implemented. What this means is that starting on July 29, 2020, USCIS will NOT apply the public benefit condition to the adjudication of I-129 petitions or I-539 applications.

This is a very dynamic issue and area of Immigration law right now.  Anyone filing an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status,  or I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker would be well advised to stay current on any legal developments in this area and to continue to monitor any changes that USCIS, USDOJ or USDOS makes to the policy, forms, fees, filing requirements, or filing locations relating to Forms I-485, I-539 or I-129. 

If you have any questions about the Public Charge Rule and whether it applies to your application or petition, contact U.S. Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel to schedule a consultation.

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