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How Is Public Charge Determined Based On The “Insufficient Financial Resources” Criteria?

How Is Public Charge Determined Based on the “Insufficient Financial Resources” Criteria?

In a previous article (“What Will Change under the New Public Charge Rule?”) we discussed that under the Trump administration’s new policy, which took effect on October 15, 2019, the new criteria for denying a green card application from within the United States would include:

  1. Prior use of certain government benefits,
  2. Likelihood of future use of government benefits, and
  3. Insufficient financial resources.

In subsequent articles, we discussed the new definition of public benefits (“What Type of Government Benefits Would Trigger a Public Charge Denial?”),  and what would trigger a public charge denial under the first criteria, “prior use of certain government benefits” (“What Would Trigger a Public Charge Denial Based on the “Prior Use of Certain Government Benefits” Criteria?”).

We also addressed the second criteria, “likelihood of future use of government benefits”, by discussing what factors are taken into account to determine the likelihood of future use of government benefits as it relates to the new public charge policy (“What Factors Would Trigger a Public Charge Denial Based on the “Likelihood of Future Use of Government Benefits?”).

It is important to note that even if you have never used government benefits in the past, and meet all of the required criteria to demonstrate low likelihood of using government benefits in the future, you could still be denied under the third criteria, if you are deemed to have insufficient financial resources.

How would immigration officers determine whether you are a public charge under the third criteria, “insufficient financial resources”?

Under the previous public charge policy, the majority of visa applicants had been able to avoid the “public charge” bar by submitting a financial sponsor’s Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), accompanied by evidence of meeting the statutory income threshold, defined as 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Under the new public charge policy, in addition to the aforementioned existing requirement of submitting a financial sponsor’s Affidavit of Support, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) requires green card applicants to complete a new form, called the “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” (Form I-944). The information collected from the form is to be used by immigration officers to determine whether an applicant is a “public charge” under the “insufficient financial resources” criteria.

This means that under the new policy, it is no longer sufficient for an applicant to have a financial sponsor who can meet the required statutory income requirements noted above to avoid a public charge denial.  To be eligible for a green card, in addition to producing a financial sponsor, the applicant must also personally meet certain financial requirements.

If you have any questions about the “public charge policy” or any other immigration matter, contact our attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. Our experienced immigration attorneys can advise you on what actions to take to avoid jeopardizing your ability to obtain the immigration benefits you seek.



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