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State Department Requesting Expedited Review with Aims to Implement Public Charge Rule on February 24 to Coincide with Department of State’s Public Charge Rule

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The State Department is working to expedite their new public charge rules in an effort to implements the rule on February 24, the same day as the Department of State’s public charge rule implementation. The original public charge rules were slated to be implemented on October 15 but were postponed. For more information on the Department of State’s new rules, please click here.

The Department of State’s rules apply to foreign nationals applying for adjustment of status inside the United States. The State Department’s public charge rules apply for foreign nationals applying for visas at consulates outside of the United States.

The draft version of State Department’s public charge questionnaire requests information about an applicant’s income, financial assets and liabilities, health insurance coverage, and receipt of public benefits, among other questions. This rule would be mandatory for immigrant visa applicants, which includes diversity lottery applicants. For nonimmigrant visa applicants, the questionnaire would only be requested at the discretion of the consular officer. 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.

When the new rule is implement, 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.

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