Effective October 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will now require individuals applying for adjustment of status to prove self-sufficiency. This means individuals must prove they will not become a public charge and use public resources in the future. You will be required to provide financial information for yourself and all household members.
A “public charge” is defined as an individual who receives one or more public benefits for more than 12 months. USCIS has not released a complete list of eligible public benefits, but at this time public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and most forms of Medicaid are included.
How does this apply to you?
Adjustment applications sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on or after October 15, 2019 will be subject to this rule. USCIS officers can exercise their discretionary authority to determine if an individual is inadmissible to the United States based on likelihood to become a public charge. There are no clear guidelines yet available to show how USCIS will make its determination. However, USCIS has indicated that it will use a variety of factors including the applicant’s age, health, work history, educational level, skills, assets, and resources in making this determination.
Any applicant who is found likely to become a public charge will be deemed inadmissible, and thus, will have his/her application for adjustment of status denied.
Since no clear adjudicative guidelines have been announced, this policy will likely result in erratic, seemingly random decisions where different officers would access the same case entirely differently. Therefore, it is even more important for applicants for adjustment of status to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to maximize the potential for a successful outcome. The attorneys and staff at the Law Office of Kelli Y. Allen have extensive experience dealing with USCIS and are available to assist. Contact the office at 704-727-4900 to schedule a consultation.