Court of Appeals Says Public Charge Rule is Back

Washington, D.C., August 13, 2020: On Wednesday, August 12, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the Federal Government’s “Public Charge Rule” can be applied in every state except New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

The Public Charge Rule is a recent regulation implemented in January 2020 that greatly expands the scope for USCIS or US Consulates to inquire into whether temporary visitors, temporary foreign workers and applicants for green cards have enough wealth to live in the US without becoming a public charge and using US Government services.

In earlier rulings, a lower federal court in New York had ruled that the Public Charge Rule should be enjoined on a nation-wide basis because it was overly broad and vague.

As a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision, immigrants across the board (except in New York, Connecticut and Vermont) will have to provide extensive evidence that includes tax returns, liquid assets, real estate assets and credit card history. The USCIS requirements for the Public Charge rule are set out in Form I-944, and the US Department of State requirements for green card applicants are set out in Form DS-5540. Both forms had proven vexing for applicants because of the expansive documentation required and the wide discretion granted to government officers to question and challenge immigrants and temporary workers for problems including assets acquired through inheritance, assets that are difficult to appraise, credit card histories or bounced checks.

Donoso & Partners, a leading immigration law firm based in Washington, D.C., will continue to report on developments regarding the immigration law and policy through our news section of


Donoso & Partners, LLC provide assistance with review and advice regarding eligibility for visas to the U.S. or Canada.

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