Updated September 7, 2021
On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPRM) asking the public for feedback on Public Charge, to help guide the development of a new Public Charge rule in the future. The deadline for public comments is October 22, 2021.
The ANPRM is not a new Public Charge rule. DHS continues to use the 1999 Interim Field Guidance on Public Charge. Check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web page on Public Charge for more information.
New Yorkers with questions about Public Charge can call the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and say "public charge" to access timely and trusted information and connections to City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.
In August 2019, the Trump Administration announced a new rule related to when certain immigrants might be considered a Public Charge under immigration law. The rule sought to prevent some immigrants from getting lawful permanent resident status (also known as a green card) or a visa if they used certain public benefits or the federal government believed they were likely to depend on public benefits in the future.
On March 9, 2021, a federal court decision permanently blocking and striking down the rule went into effect, and the federal government stopped applying the rule. View statements from New York City officials on the end of the Trump Administration’s Public Charge rule.
This page contains general information about Public Charge and how New Yorkers can get further information and assistance. The information below is for general educational purposes and is not legal advice.
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What is Public Charge?
Immigration officials could deny certain applications for lawful permanent residence (“green card”) or certain visas if they determine that an individual is likely to become a “public charge.” Under DHS policy, a Public Charge is someone who relies on cash assistance or institutionalized long-term care from the government to survive. The only benefits that can be considered under the Public Charge test are:
I am a refugee. Does public charge apply to me?
No. Under current law and DHS policy, there is generally no Public Charge test if you are a refugee or asylee. There are also other statuses not listed here that may not be subject to public charge. See below for information on how to get your questions answered, and connect to free legal services.
I have questions about how Public Charge might apply to me. How can I get legal help?
You can call ActionNYC at 800-354-0365 and say “public charge” Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., to learn more and get answers to your questions.
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