The Department of Homeland Security announced Saturday it will implement the public charge rule nationwide beginning today. The announcement follows a Supreme Court ruling on Friday that stayed an Illinois state-wide injunction. The Court had previously lifted other nationwide injunctions, and the government already announced enforcement of the rule in all other states beginning Feb. 24.

Key points:

  • DHS is implementing the public charge rule for applicants in all 50 states. The rule takes effect Feb. 24 and imposes stricter standards on immigrants and nonimmigrants in determinations of whether they are inadmissible under the public charge provision.
  • Immigrants applying for adjustment of status (green cards) are required to fill out a new form (Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency) containing detailed financial history and declaring their financial self-sufficiency, and may be deemed inadmissible based on use or potential use of public benefits.
  • Nonimmigrant visa holders requesting a change or extension of status must attest that they have not received public benefits as defined in the regulations since obtaining their nonimmigrant status, but do not need to prove that they will not become a public charge in the future.
  • Relevant forms must have been postmarked before Feb. 24 in order to be exempt from the public charge rule.
  • The State Department is also implementing its version of the public charge rule today. The State Department rule applies to visa applicants outside the United States.

BAL Analysis: Employers and individuals should be aware that the public charge rule now applies nationwide and that Illinois filers are no longer exempt. Employers should anticipate longer timelines and factor in additional time for employees to gather the new information requested on the forms and potential delays in processing as USCIS officers will need to review additional information and supporting documentation. Though the Supreme Court has allowed DHS to implement the rule, it did not rule on the legality of the regulation and multiple lawsuits challenging the rule continue to progress.

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

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