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State Department Issues Public Charge Regulations that Align with DHS Rules

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The State Department published new public charge rules that will take effect on October 15. These new rules largely mirror the Department of Statement’s public charge rules. To find out more about DHS’ changes, please click here.

According to the new rules, the State Department will review the personal circumstances of nonimmigrant and immigrant applicants under a “totality of circumstances” test. This test includes consideration of a foreign national’s age, household size, income, financial assets and liabilities, receipt of certain public benefits, health, education and skills, and prospective immigration status.

Starting October 15, visa applicants may be subject to extra questioning or requests for additional information at their consular visa interviews. This may include inquiries about medical conditions, health insurance, and financial assets and liabilities, among other factors deemed relevant to the public charge inquiry. The State Department also issued notes to consular officers to take into account different purposes and intended duration of stay for different type of applicants. This means that consular officers should review applicants for B-1 visitor visas differently than immigrant visas.

Please note that the temporary preliminary injunction issued by the New York District judge on October 11 does not affect the State Department’s regulations, although this regulation is also being challenged. Currently, as of today, overseas applicants should still expect additional scrutiny at U.S. Consulates starting on October 15.

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