Public Charge Rule Update: COVID-19


USCIS has recently updated its page addressing the Public Charge rule and how COVID-19 impacts that.

As stated on the website: the Public Charge rule does not restrict access to testing, screening, or treatment of communicable diseases, including COVID-19. In addition, the rule does not restrict access to vaccines for children or adults to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases. Importantly, for purposes of a public charge inadmissibility determination, USCIS considers the receipt of public benefits as only one consideration among a number of factors and considerations in the totality of the alien’s circumstances over a period of time with no single factor being outcome determinative.  To address the possibility that some aliens impacted by COVID-19 may be hesitant to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services, USCIS will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, nor as related to the public benefit condition applicable to certain nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid).   

However, USCIS will still consider in a public charge analysis receipt of the cash and non-cash public benefits described in the rule, including most forms of federally funded Medicaid for those over the age of 21.

If you think that you will fall under the Public Charge inadmissibility distinction based off of benefits received during the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to contact our office to speak with an attorney.

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