Will the new public charge rule apply to cases that have just reached the National Visa Center?
Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2018, the federal government greatly expanded the definition of the public charge.
So historically, the public charge is a concern that's, in statute and in regulations, that the United States government wants to make sure that immigrants who come to the United States for lawful, permanent resident status, do not become public charges. That they are not going to come and just get government benefits; that they are coming to be productive members of society.
And typically, we've solved that issue by either demonstrating the person's employability, and also by having someone sign an affidavit of support. If the U.S. citizen or the green card sponsor makes enough money, then they can be the sponsor on their own. Otherwise, they're going to need a co-sponsor, and that would typically solve the situation.
But now, there's a new form and new procedures, and the government issued a new regulation that was over 850 pages long, that greatly expanded the definition of the public charge.
So it's estimated that, to read that public rule, it would take about 16 hours, and the government is making it much, much harder for people to come to the United States. And so a lot of people are concerned; "Well, if I filed my case, my I-130, before that rule went into effect..." And the effective date of that was February 24th, 2020.
That if you had your application on file before, then the new rule is not going to apply for you. You still have to comply with the old rule, but this new monster, behemoth, pain in the butt rule is not going to apply for you.
You still have to demonstrate that you're not going to be a public charge, but the rule itself does not apply to your application, because you had it filed beforehand.
So we hope this answers your question.
If you have questions about public charge, if you're worried about your spouse, whether they're going to be able to satisfy the new conditions of the public charge, or even the old conditions of the public charge, give us a call at (314) 961-8200.
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