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Public Charge Information

What is public charge?

Some people who apply for lawful permanent residence (“green card”) or a visa to enter the United States must pass a “public charge” test. This test looks at whether the person is likely to use certain government services in the future. Immigration officials review all of a person’s circumstances including their age, income, health, education or skills (including English language skills), and their sponsor’s affidavit of support. They can also consider whether a person – not a family member – has used certain public benefit programs.

 

Public charge does not apply to:

  • U.S. Citizens or Applicants
  • Asylees or Refugees
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • TPS or DACA
  • VAWA, U or T Visa, or Green Cards based on these visas
  • Green Card Renewals

 

DOES PUBLIC CHARGE AFFECT YOU?

Whether you are affected by the public charge test depends on your current and future immigration or citizenship status.

 

Do you already have a green card?

The public charge test DOES NOT apply. If you plan to leave the country for more than 6 months, it is a good idea to speak with an immigration attorney. The public charge test is NOT part of the U.S. Citizenship Application.

 

Are you applying for:

  • Citizenship,
  • Green Card Renewal,
  • DACA Renewal,
  • U or T Visa,
  • Asylum or Refugee Status,
  • TPS,
  • VAWA,
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or
  • Green Card Based on U/T/SIJ/VAWA?

The public charge test DOES NOT apply. You may use any benefits for which you qualify 

 

Do you or your family plan to apply for a green card or visa from INSIDE the United States?

The new public charge test MAY APPLY. You should speak with a qualified immigration lawyer who understands the new rule. There are many benefit programs that will not affect applications.

 

Does your family plan to apply for a green card or visa from OUTSIDE the United States?

United States Consular Offices in other countries use different rules. Speak to a qualified attorney before making a decision about your case or about public benefit programs.

 

Receipt of these benefits WILL be Considered:

  • Cash Benefits (SSI, MFIP, General Assistance)
  • SNAP / Food Stamps / EBT
  • Medicaid (with some exceptions)
  • Federal Public Housing / Section 8

 

Receipt of these benefits WILL NOT be Considered:

  • WIC
  • CHIP
  • MinnesotaCare
  • Medicare
  • Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA)
  • Medicaid for Children Under 21 or Pregnant Women
  • Child Care
  • Head Start
  • Food Banks
  • Shelters
  • Energy Assistance
  • Unemployment
  • Workers Compensation
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Adoption
  • Foster Care
  • School Meals
  • EITC
  • Immunizations
  • Public Health Testing

FREE MINNESOTA CONTACTS

For Legal Advice about Public Benefits or Public Charge:

For Immigration Questions and Help:

For Immigration Questions and Help:

 

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT MEANT TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. 
PLEASE CONSULT AN ATTORNEY FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE.

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