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New Form I-485 Includes Additional “Public Charge” Questions

18 Jan

On December 23, 2022, the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation concerning the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility went into effect. DHS implemented the rule along with a new Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
In publishing the rule, DHS emphasized the purpose is to restore “the historical understanding of a ‘public charge’ that had been in place for decades” prior to changes that were introduced by the prior administration.

  • The new Form I-485 includes the following new questions which applicants must answer, and document if requested:
    • What is the size of your household?   
    • Indicate your annual household income. 
    • Identify the total value of your household assets. 
    • Identify the total value of your household liabilities (including both secured and unsecured liabilities).  
    • What is the highest degree or level of school you have completed?  
    • List your certifications, licenses, skills obtained through work experience, and educational certificates.   
    • Have you ever received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or State, Tribal, territorial, or local, cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” in the State context, but which also exist under other names)?  
    • Have you ever received long-term institutionalization at government expense? 

Certain classes of applicants are not required to answer the additional questions, but most employment-based and family-based applicants must respond. Additionally, family-based applicants are required to submit an “Affidavit of Support” from a sponsor as further assurance the applicant is not likely to become dependent upon the government.

DHS has provided a useful Public Charge Resources webpage that provides an overview of key factors in determining which public benefits are considered, exemptions, and other useful information on the current interpretation of the public charge rule. 

Foster will continue to monitor developments in connection with immigration policies and regulations and will make future updates available on our firm’s website at