Public Charge Definition
Under Federal immigration law, Public Charge refers to a noncitizen who is determined likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. This may be indicated by one of the following:
Receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance.
Receipt of government-funded assistance for long-term care.
A Public Charge determination cannot be made solely on the basis of receipt of government benefits. Other factors that must be reviewed under the law include all of the following:
Family status
Assets, resources, and financial status
Education and skills
Prospective immigration status
Expected period of admission
Sufficient Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Form I-864 or form I-864EZ when required under Section 212 (a) (4) (C) or (D) of the INA 8 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1182 (a) (4) (C) or (D).
A noncitizen who is determined to be a Public Charge is generally inadmissible to the United States. A determination of inadmissibility may result in denial of an application for a U.S. Visa or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. The Public Charge rule does not affect an LPR who is applying for U.S. Citizenship.
The Public Charge rule applies to some noncitizens who are applying for admission to the U.S. or for LPR status. It does not apply to noncitizens coming to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. This includes but is not limited to the following immigration statuses:
Survivors of Domestic Violence
Victims of trafficking and other serious crimes
Special immigrant juveniles
Any of the following individuals paroled into the United States:
Cuban and Haitian entrants
Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees
Afghani Humanitarian Parolees
Only the following public benefits may be considered when determining whether a noncitizen is considered a Public Charge:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Cash Assistance
State and local cash assistance benefits that provide benefits for income maintenance (often called General Assistance programs)
Programs including Medicaid that support noncitizens by providing government-funded long-term care.