U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule on February 24, 2020, except in Illinois, where the rule remains enjoined by a federal court as of January 30, 2020. Earlier, on January 27, 2020, the Supreme Court stayed the order of a New York federal court granting a nationwide injunction against the implementation of the public charge rule.
Among other things, the final rule includes a requirement that those seeking to adjust status to permanent residence or seeking an extension of stay or change of status demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over a designated threshold. The final rule considers a noncitizen a public charge if he or she receives certain public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate in any 36-month period, such that the receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months. USCIS will also consider whether a noncitizen seeking an extension of stay or change of status has received certain public benefits since obtaining the nonimmigrant status he or she seeks to extend or from which he or she seeks to change.
Except for the state of Illinois, USCIS said it will apply the final rule to applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after February 24, 2020. USCIS said it will post updated forms, submission instructions, and Policy Manual guidance on the USCIS website during the week of February 3, 2020, “to give applicants, petitioners, and others ample time to review updated procedures and adjust filing methods.” In the coming weeks, the agency said, it plans to hold a public engagement for “immigration attorneys, industry representatives, and other relevant groups to discuss the final rule.”