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New Federal Guidelines Proposed for Public Charge InadmissibilityOne of the biggest concerns for people seeking to immigrate to the U.S. is the chance that they will be ruled inadmissible for one reason or another. U.S. authorities might reject your application for an immigration visa because of your criminal history, medical issues, or the risk that you will be unable to financially support yourself and wind up living on government assistance, which would make you a “public charge.”

Definition of Public Charge Inadmissibility

In simple language, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines a public charge as a person who is primarily dependent on the government for food, shelter, and similar basic needs. A person deemed likely to become a public charge will not be admitted to the U.S. nor will an adjustment of status be granted to them.

However, current immigration law is vaguer on defining whether an immigrant may become a public charge. The Immigration and Naturalization Act is the governing federal law. Section 212(a)(4) states that “Any alien who, in the opinion of [U.S. immigration authorities] is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.” The law further states that the following factors should be used to determine whether a person applying for admission to the U.S. or adjustment of status is likely to be financially self-sufficient: age, health, family status, assets, education, and work skills.  

Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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