On September 5, 2023, the Department of State issued a final rule to discard the regulatory amendments included in a 2019 rule regarding ineligibility for immigration benefits based on an applicant’s likelihood to become a public charge. Before 2019, only public cash assistance for income maintenance or long-term institutionalization at government expense was considered in the public charge inadmissibility assessment. The 2019 rule expanded the public charge test by adding several other factors that would be considered in determining whether an individual is likely to become a public charge. The 2019 rule raised concerns about fear and confusion preventing immigrants, including children, from accessing government services and benefits available to them.
This final rule will take effect on October 5, 2023. By abandoning the 2019 amendments, the DOS will continue to apply the regulatory language and Foreign Affairs Manual guidance in use before 2019.