USCS § 1182 (a) (4) provides that if alien is going to be a public charge at that condition alien may be inadmissible. This public charge applies when any alien is seeking non immigration visa or immigration visa in U. S. Consular’ s office or seeking adjustment of Status in Consular office or with DHS or seeking change of non immigration visa in U.S. 

Statutes provides that: Any alien who in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.

As per the Statute, Consular’s office or DHS should consider following factors to determine if applicant will be public charge or not.  

In determining whether an alien is inadmissible under this paragraph, the consular officer or the Attorney General shall at a minimum consider the alien’s 

1. Age
2. Health,
3. Family status,
4. Assets, resources and financial status; and
5. Education and skills
6. In addition to that, the consular officer or the Attorney General may also consider any affidavit of support under section 213A (8 USCS § 1182a) for purposes of exclusion under this paragraph.

Congress has made an exception to refugees, asylees, and Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas, therefore the President cannot change public charge against refugees, asylees, etc.

But now President Trump has made substantial changes in public charges. If you are in nonimmigrant visa or you are in the process of immigration visa you must consult with a lawyer before you take benefits. 

Under new rules which is effective from October 15, 2019: DHS will consider the following benefits are public charge: 

1. Any federal, state, local or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance, 
2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
3. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF)

4. Federal, State or local cash benefits programs for income maintenance (often called “General assistance” in the state context, but which may exist under other names)
5. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called “ Food Stamps”) 

6. Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program
7. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation)
8. Public housing under section 9 of the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U. S. C. 1437 et seq. 
9. Federally funded Medicaid (with certain exclusion) 

Above charges does not apply alien who enlisted in the U. S. Armed forces or is serving in active duty or in the any of ready serve components of the U. S. armed forces or will be exempted from public charge. 

DHS states that following will not considered for public charge: 

1. The receipt of Medicaid for the treatment of an emergency medical condition Service or benefits funded by Medicaid but provided under the individual with Disabilities Education Act; 
2. Service or benefits funded by Medicaid but provided under the individual with Disabilities Education Act; 

3. School-based services or benefits provided to an individual who are at or below the oldest age eligibility for secondary education as determined under state or local law; Medicaid benefits received by an alien under 21 years of age or ;
4. Medicaid benefits received by a woman during pregnancy and during the 60-day period beginning on the last day of the pregnancy. 

DHS rules had increased Federal Poverty Guideline from 125% to 250% income, assets, resources and support from a sponsor. 


If any of your citizen family member receiving benefits that will not impact your admissibility or visa. 

Please be advised that this is not a legal advice. If you have questions please contact a Lawyer who has a breadth of knowledge about these issues. 

Published: September 04, 2019 | Updated: None | Sources: Durga Bhurtel – BFL, USCIS