Public Charge & Unemployment

Jun 17, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact many businesses and individuals, one of the main concerns of US-visiting individuals (who are applying for immigrant or non-immigrant status) is to clarify their status of public surcharge and unemployment in the United States. The following is a brief outline of such concerns. The USCIS page writes that “self-sufficiency has long been a basic principle of U.S. immigration law since our nation’s earliest immigration statutes.” Therefore, any applicant that is likely to become a public charge during the time of application will be determined inadmissible for admission to the United State or adjustment of status. The USCIS defines public charge as an alien who receives public benefits for more than 12 months during a 36-month period. Factors that determine if a person qualifies as a public charge include applicant’s age; health; family status; assets, resources and financial status; and educational and skills. However, this rule also does not apply to refugees, aslyees, individuals that are applying under the Violence Against Women Act, amongst others. There are many points to consider whether public charge final rule applies to you. To learn more, you can visit USCIS or contact Law Offices of Wiliani-Malek, Inc for personalized advice and answers. In short, public charge can be very influential in determining if an applicant is approved or denied admissibility to the United States.