When is Form I-944 Required Under the New Public Charge Regulations?

Washington D.C., August 22, 2019: Form I-944, the USCIS Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, is mentioned prominently in the new public charge regulations. Confusion, however, has accompanied this form for three reasons.

First, its name. USCIS Form I-944 Declaration of Self-Sufficiency bears the same number reference as IRS Form 944 Employer’s Annual Tax Return. Clearly, they are different and unrelated.

Second, the initial draft of the public charge rules purported to require Form I-944 for extension of stay or change of status for all temporary work visas to the U.S. The final rule public charge regulations, however, changed this. Form I-944 is only required for lawful permanent residency applications (green cards) pursuing I-485 Adjustment of Status at USCIS. Form I-944 is not required for temporary work visa applications seeking extension of stay or change of status.

Third, Form I-944 – presently being elaborated, and circulating as a draft, is confusing. The draft includes references to a myriad types of income, assets and liabilities that compel relying on an accountant or financial advisor. Any application requiring Form I-944 will most resemble the complicated process associated with applying for a mortgage loan from a U.S. bank. Form I-944 even asks for an applicant’s credit score, despite the frequent occurrence of errors or identity theft problems in credit score reporting.

Nevertheless, applicants and advisors need to become familiar with Form I-944’s procedures and requirements. The new public charge regulations take effect on October 15, 2019.

Donoso & Associates, 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 donosolaw.com.

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I.A. Donoso & Associates provide assistance with review and advice regarding eligibility for visas to the U.S. or Canada.

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