The State Department has postponed enforcement of a “public charge” rule that would have required a heightened level of scrutiny to determine whether visa applicants were likely to end up relying on certain public benefits in the United States. The rule went into effect as an interim final regulation on Oct. 15.

“Visa applicants are not requested to take any additional steps at this time and should attend their visa interviews as scheduled,” the State Department said on its website. “The Department is seeking approval for use of a new form before it implements any changes to our processes. We will inform applicants of any changes to current visa application procedures.”

The State Department rule is similar to a Department of Homeland Security rule that was also scheduled to take effect Oct. 15 but was blocked after a federal court in New York enjoined DHS from enforcing it last week. A number of other federal courts have subsequently ruled to block the government from implementing the DHS rule as well while the lawsuits proceed.

BAL Analysis: For the time being, visa applicants will not be required to submit any additional information and should attend interviews as scheduled. BAL continues to monitor developments related to both the DHS and State Department rules and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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