Inadmissibility: Public Charge (Part II)

The way that the regulations are interpreted by government employees are often governed by policies. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) uses their USCIS Policy Manual, with periodic updates via policy memos. The Department of State (DOS) uses the Foreign Affairs Manual and Handbook (FAM). The USCIS Policy Manual has not been updated as regarding the public charge inadmissibility.

However, the DOS updated their FAM on January 3, 2018, to reflect the new rules regarding this inadmissibility. 9 FAM 302.8 (U) In this revision, DOS now has made it that much more difficult to apply for visas into the United States because the standard for determining whether one is going to be considered a “public charge” has been raised significantly.

Previously, having a sponsor and, if necessary, a co-sponsor was sufficient to overcome any factors that would weigh in a public charge finding. To put it simply, the sponsor(s) are guaranteeing that they will support the immigrant until either they die, they are deported, they leave, become US citizens, or gain 40 credits with the Social Security Administration, which is usually obtained with 10 working years’ taxes paid into the SSA.

Now, this is no longer an almost overriding factor but simple a factor in determining this inadmissibility.

Since January, there have been reports that due to a person’s age, potential employability, health and the like are factors in determining the person is not admissible into the United States. Even assets are sometimes not sufficient evidence. Furthermore, in a more troubling turn of events, if the US citizen children or spouse ever access public benefits, particularly those that are granted due to income qualifications, then the immigrant will be denied access.

Speaking to an experienced immigration attorney will be more necessary than ever prior to any actions you decide to take.