NEW Federal Public Charge Rule

Public Charge


Under longstanding federal policy, the federal government may deny a non-US citizen entry into the United States, or adjustment to lawful permanent resident status (a green card), if he or she is determined likely to become a public charge based on the totality of the individual’s circumstances, including various factors in addition to the receipt of public benefits, such as income, age, health, family status, education and skills, financial status, assets, and, when applicable, a sponsor’s affidavit of support.

Last year, the federal government released a new public charge policy that expands the types of public benefits considered alongside other factors. Overall, it will become harder for lower-income immigrants to obtain green cards.

Beginning February 24, 2020, the federal government will begin implementing this new policy. Individuals will be required to disclose their application for or use of certain benefits as part of their immigration application. An immigration attorney can advise what public benefits must be disclosed as part of the processing.  

The California Health and Human Services Agency, along with its Departments and Offices, issued an updated Public Charge Guide to serve as a resource for individuals and families with questions about the Federal Government’s new federal public charge policy that goes into effect on Monday, February 24, 2020.

Please contact a qualified immigration attorney if you have questions about the new federal policy and your immigration case. You can find a list of qualified immigration providers on the California Department of Social Services website.

Public Charge Guide (English Version)
Public Charge Guide (Spanish Version)


Other Public Charge Resources:

Chapter 10 - Public Benefits

Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule 

Public Charge Provider List