Public Charge

Public Charge

This webpage is for informational purposes only.

Last updated: March 16, 2020

Important COVID-19 & Public Charge Information

“USCIS will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, nor as related to the public benefit condition applicable to certain nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid)”


What is the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule (most commonly known as Public Charge)? When an individual applies for Lawful Permanent Residency status (also known as a Green Card), the US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) evaluates whether the applicant has used – or is likely to use – certain public benefits that could make them a public charge. If so, this is a negative factor against the applicant’s request for Lawful Permanent Residency.

Public Charge has been around since 1999, however currently an individual is considered a Public Charge only if they depend on the government for cash assistance for income maintenance (e.g., TANF or SSI) or on government-funded long-term institutional care.

Public Charge test applies in two situations: 1) When a person applies to enter the U.S., 2) when a person applies to adjust status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) The test is not used when applying to become a U.S. citizen.


Under the Public Charge Rule the following programs would be considered when determining if an immigrant is likely to become a public charge.

  • CalFresh or SNAP
  • Medi-Cal or Medicaid
  • In-home Supportive Services Program
  • Federal Public Housing and Section 8 assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • CalWORKs or TANF cash assistance
  • State and local cash assistance programs
  • Public assistance for long-term care in an institution

Excluded from Public Charge are certain humanitarian immigrants, including refugees, asylees, individuals applying for U visas or T visas, children seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and women, men, or children applying for a Green Card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Public Charge rule went into effect on February 24, 2020

Contact the Community Health Association Inland Southern Region at (909) 566-2555 or at

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