Updated March 10, 2021
On March 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice withdrew its legal challenges to court orders that had blocked the new Public Charge rule.
This allows a federal court decision permanently blocking and striking down the rule to go into effect. The Public Charge rule is now blocked nationwide.
View statements from New York City officials on the end of the Trump Administration’s Public Charge rule.
New Yorkers with questions about the Public Charge rule 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 federal government announced a new rule related to when certain immigrants might be considered a Public Charge under immigration law. The rule, now blocked nationwide, 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.
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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