Form I-944 No Longer Required
The Justice Department notified the Supreme Court that under the Biden administration, the changes made to the “public charge rule” under President Trump would no longer be defended in court. This follows an executive order President Biden signed in February that directed the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive review of the rule. The Supreme Court agreed to the Biden administration’s request to dismiss the case, effectively putting an end to the public charge updates made under President Trump. On March 9, 2021, the Seventh Circuit lifted its stay and the U.S. District Court order vacating the public charge rule went into effect, so that USCIS immediately stopped applying the public charge rule to any pending applications and petitions.
The rule had been challenged frequently by litigation in courts around the U.S. On November 2, 2020, the Seventh Circuit issued an administrative stay, that dictated that all adjustment of status (Form I-485) green card filings must be filed with Form I-944 once again. Under the March 9 decision and the dismissal by the Supreme Court, USCIS will now be applying earlier public charge guidance.
Shortly after the dismissal by the Supreme Court, USCIS updated the public charge webpage to state:
USCIS is no longer applying the August 2019 Public Charge Final Rule. As a consequence, among other changes, USCIS will apply the public charge inadmissibility statute consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance. In other words, USCIS is not considering an applicant’s receipt of Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.
Applicants and petitioners are also instructed to not provide information or evidence related solely to the public charge rule, which includes Form I-944. However, the page also advises that in the interim, USCIS will not reject any Form I-485 based on the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944, nor will it reject Form I-129 or I-539 based on whether the public benefits questions have been completed or left blank.
USCIS Updates for Cases in Progress
Applicants and petitioners should not provide information or evidence related solely to the Public Charge Final Rule. That means that applicants for adjustment of status should not submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, or any evidence or documentation required by Form I-944 when they file their Form I-485. Applicants and petitioners for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status should not provide information related to the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3).
If an applicant or petitioner already provided information related solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, and USCIS adjudicates the application or petition on or after March 9, 2021, USCIS will not consider any information that relates solely to the Public Charge Final Rule, including, for example, information provided on Form I-944, evidence or documentation submitted with Form I-944, or information on the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3). Any other information received will be evaluated consistent with the statute, regulations, and policies in effect at the time of adjudication.
If you received a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) requesting information that is solely required under the Public Charge Final Rule, including but not limited, to Form I-944, and your response is due on or after March 9, 2021, you do not need to provide that information. However, you do need to respond to the aspects of the RFE or NOID that otherwise pertain to the eligibility for the immigration benefit sought. If USCIS requires additional information or evidence to make a public charge inadmissibility determination under the statute and consistent with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, we will issue another RFE or NOID.
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