The State Department has received emergency approval of its public charge visa questionnaire from the Office of Management and Budget, clearing the way for the agency to implement the questionnaire and the public charge rule beginning Monday.

Key points:

  • The approval means that the State Department may implement the public charge rule on Monday, Feb. 24, for visa applicants applying at U.S. consulates. This would coincide with the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement of its version of the public charge rule for applicants within the U.S. starting Monday.
  • The visa questionnaire, Form DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire, is a four-page form requiring visa applicants to furnish extensive financial information to assist consular officers in determining whether they are inadmissible on the basis that they could at any time in the future become reliant on public benefits.
  • On Friday, a federal judge in New York denied a temporary restraining order to stop the State Department public charge rule from taking effect on Monday, but has scheduled oral arguments for next Thursday on whether to issue a preliminary injunction instead.

BAL Analysis: Visa applicants at U.S. consulates should anticipate that they will be required to fill out the new visa questionnaire form starting Monday. It is possible that the court could issue a preliminary injunction to stop implementation following the hearing on Thursday, Feb. 28. Meanwhile, applicants in the U.S., except for petitioners and applicants in Illinois, will be subject to the DHS version of the public charge rule starting Monday. BAL is following both rules and the lawsuits challenging them, and will continue to provide updates on developments 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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