It is important to remember that immigration law and regulations exempt some categories of immigrants from public charge inadmissibility and provide many types of immigration status that are not subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. This advisory provides an overview of the exemptions to public charge inadmissibility and the forms of relief a client may seek without being subject to a public charge test.
It also discusses public charge issues to keep in mind when advising immigrants who may be considering adjustment of status or consular processing through a family or employer petition after having a status that is not subject to public charge inadmissibility. Understanding these considerations will help advocates best counsel their clients and prepare applications in the current climate of uncertainty surrounding public charge policy.
Individuals applying for admission to the United States or adjustment of status are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility unless they fall into categories that are exempt from public charge or not subject to this ground of inadmissibility within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or corresponding regulations. Primarily, people subject to a public charge test are applicants for an immigrant visa or permanent resident status through a family- or employer-based petition, and people applying for most nonimmigrant visas.
It is important to remember that the INA exempts some categories of immigrants from public charge inadmissibility. Others may avoid public charge concerns when they apply for a type of immigration status that is not subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility or, sometimes, not subject to any grounds of inadmissibility.