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e-CFR data is current as of December 1, 2020

Title 22Chapter ISubchapter EPart 40Subpart E → §40.41


Title 22: Foreign Relations
PART 40—REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO BOTH NONIMMIGRANTS AND IMMIGRANTS UNDER THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT, AS AMENDED
Subpart E—Public Charge


§40.41   Public charge.

(a) Basis for determination of ineligibility. Any determination that an alien is ineligible under INA 212(a)(4) must be predicated upon circumstances indicating that, taking into account any Affidavit of Support under section 213A of the INA that may have been filed on the alien's behalf, the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge after admission, or, if applicable, that the alien has failed to submit a sufficient Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA as set forth in either INA 212(a)(4)(C) or 212(a)(4)(D). Consular officers will consider whether any identified third party is willing and able to financially support the alien while the alien is in the United States. When considering the likelihood of an alien becoming a public charge at any time through receipt of public benefits, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, consular officers will use a more likely than not standard and take into account the totality of the alien's circumstances at the time of visa application, including at a minimum: The alien's age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills. No one enumerated factor alone, apart from the lack of a sufficient Affidavit of Support under section 213A of the Act where required, will make the alien more likely than not to become a public charge. For immigration classifications exempt from the public charge ground of ineligibility, see 8 CFR 212.23(a).

(1) The alien's age. Consular officers will consider whether the alien's age makes the alien more likely than not to become a public charge in the totality of the circumstances, such as by impacting the alien's ability to work. Consular officers will consider an alien's age between 18 and early retirement age as defined in 42 U.S.C. 416(l)(2) as a positive factor. Age is a negative factor for aliens who are under the age of 18. However, consular officers may consider other factors, such as the support provided to a minor child by a parent, legal guardian, or other source, that in the totality of the circumstances may offset the alien's age as a negative factor. An alien's age above early retirement age is a negative factor in the totality of the circumstances, if the consular officer believes it adversely affects the alien's ability to obtain or perform work, or may increase the potential for healthcare related costs that would be borne by the public.

(2) The alien's health. Consular officers will consider whether the alien's health is a positive or negative factor in the totality of the circumstances, including whether the alien, has been diagnosed with a medical condition that is likely to require extensive medical care or institutionalization, or that will interfere with the alien's ability to provide and care for himself or herself, to attend school, or to work, if authorized. Consular officers will consider the report of a medical examination performed by the panel physician where such examination is required, including any medical conditions noted by the panel physician. An individual with a Class B medical condition, including Class B forms of communicable diseases of public health significance, as defined in 42 CFR part 34, is not alone a determinative factor for public charge purposes. The medical condition will be taken into consideration with all factors under the totality of circumstances. In assessing the effect of the alien's health on a public charge ineligibility determination, the consular officer will consider evidence of health insurance or the ability to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical expenses in the United States a positive factor in the totality of the circumstances.

(3) The alien's family status. When considering an alien's family status, consular officers will consider the size of the alien's household, as defined in paragraph (e) of this section, and whether the alien's household size is a positive or negative factor in the totality of the circumstances.

(4) The alien's assets, resources, and financial status—(i) In general. Consular officers will consider, among other relevant factors, the following aspects of an alien's assets, resources, and financial status:

(A) If the alien's annual gross income for the alien's household size is at least 125 percent of the most recent Federal Poverty Guidelines based on the alien's household size (or 100 percent for an alien on active duty, other than training, in the Armed Forces), consular officers will consider the alien's income a positive factor;

(B) If the alien's annual household gross income is less than 125 percent of the most recent Federal Poverty Guidelines (100 percent for those on active duty, other than training, in the Armed Forces) based on the alien's household size, consular officers will consider a total value of the household assets and resources that is at least five times the difference between the alien's household gross income and 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the alien's household size as a positive factor. However, if the alien is the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen, assets totaling three times the difference between the alien's household gross income and 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (100 percent for those on active duty, other than training, in the Armed Forces) for the alien's household size is a positive factor. If the alien is a child who will be adopted in the United States and who will likely receive citizenship under section 320 of the INA, then assets equivalent to or greater than the difference between the alien's household gross income and 125 percent the Federal Poverty Guidelines (100 percent for those on active duty, other than training, in the Armed Forces) for the alien's household size is a positive factor.

(ii) Factors to consider. When considering an alien's assets, resources, and financial status, consular officers must consider assets, resources, and financial status including:

(A) The alien's household annual gross income;

(B) The alien's cash assets and resources;

(C) Non-cash assets and resources that can be converted into cash within twelve months of the visa application;

(D) The alien's financial liabilities;

(E) Whether the alien has applied for, been certified to receive, been approved to receive, or received one or more public benefits, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section on or after October 15, 2019, or whether the alien has disenrolled or requested to be disenrolled from such public benefits.

(F) Whether the alien has received an immigration benefit fee waiver from DHS on or after October 15, 2019, unless the fee waiver was applied for or granted as part of an application for which a public charge inadmissibility under section 212(a)(4) of the Act was not required; and

(G) Whether the alien has private health insurance or other financial resources sufficient to cover reasonably foreseeable costs related to a medical condition in the United States.

(iii) Income from illegal activities or sources. Consular officers may not consider any income from illegal activities or sources, such as proceeds from illegal gambling or drug sales, or income from any public benefit listed in paragraph (c) of this section.

(5) The alien's education and skills. When considering an alien's education and skills, consular officers will consider both positive and negative factors associated with whether the alien has adequate education and skills to either obtain or maintain lawful employment with an income sufficient to avoid being likely to become a public charge. In assessing whether the alien's level of education and skills makes the alien likely to become a public charge, the consular officer must consider, among other factors, the alien's history of employment, educational level (high school diploma, or its equivalent, or higher educational degree), any occupational skills, certifications or licenses, and English language proficiency or proficiency in languages in addition to English. Consular officers will take into positive consideration an alien who is a primary caregiver 18 years of age or older who has significant responsibility for actively caring for and managing the well-being of a minor, elderly, ill, or disabled person residing in the alien's household, such that the alien lacks an employment history or current employment, or is not employed full time. Only one alien within a household can be considered a primary caregiver of the same individual within the household.

(6) Prospective visa classification. When considering the likelihood at any time of an alien becoming a public charge, consular officers will consider the visa classification sought.

(7) Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act. Any alien seeking an immigrant visa under INA 201(b)(2), 203(a), or 203(b), based upon a petition filed by a relative of the alien (or in the case of a petition filed under INA 203(b) by an entity in which a relative has a significant ownership interest), shall be required to present to the consular officer an Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA on a form that complies with terms and conditions established by the Secretary of Homeland Security. A properly filed, non-fraudulent, sufficient Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, in those cases where it is required, is a positive factor in the totality of the circumstances if the sponsor is likely to actually provide the alien with the statutorily-required amount of financial support and other related considerations.

(8) Heavily weighted factors. The factors below will weigh heavily in an ineligibility determination based on public charge.

(i) Heavily weighted negative factors. The following factors will weigh heavily in favor of a finding that an alien is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge:

(A) The alien is not a full-time student and is authorized to work in his or her country of residence or the United States, as appropriate, but is unable to satisfy the consular officer that he or she is currently employed, has recent employment history, or a reasonable prospect of future employment;

(B) The alien has received or has been certified or approved to receive one or more public benefits, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months' worth of benefits), beginning no earlier than October 15, 2019, or for more than 12 months in the aggregate within the 36 month period prior to the adjudication of the alien's visa application, whichever is later.

(C)(1) The alien has been diagnosed with a medical condition that is likely to require extensive medical treatment or institutionalization or that will interfere with the alien's ability to provide for himself or herself, attend school, or work; and

(2) The alien has no health insurance for use in the United States and has neither the prospect of obtaining private health insurance for use in the United States, nor the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs related to such medical condition;

(D) The alien was previously found inadmissible or deportable on public charge grounds by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals.

(ii) Heavily weighted positive factors. The following factors will weigh heavily in favor of a finding that an alien is not likely at any time to become a public charge:

(A) The alien's household has income, assets, resources, or support of at least 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the alien's household size. Consular officers may not consider any income from illegal activities, e.g., proceeds from illegal gambling or drug sales, or any income derived from any public benefit as defined in paragraph (c) of this section;

(B) The alien is authorized to work and is currently employed with an annual income of at least 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the alien's household size. Consular officers may not consider any income from illegal activities, e.g., proceeds from illegal gambling or drug sales;

(C) The alien has private health insurance (other than health insurance obtained with premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act) for use in the United States covering the expected period of admission.

(9) Treatment of benefits received before October 15, 2019. When considering whether an alien is more likely than not to become a public charge under this section, consular officers will consider, as a negative factor, but not as a heavily weighted negative factor as described in paragraph (a)(8) of this section, any amount of cash assistance for income maintenance, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), State and local cash assistance programs that provide benefits for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” programs), and programs (including Medicaid) supporting aliens who are institutionalized for long-term care, received, or certified for receipt, before October 15, 2019.

(b) Public charge. Public charge means, for the purpose of INA 212(a)(4)(A) and (B), an alien who receives one or more public benefits, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months' worth of benefits).

(c) Public benefit. (1) Public benefit means any of the following forms of assistance received on or after October 15, 2019:

(i) Any Federal, State, local, or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance (other than tax credits), including:

(A) Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 42 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.;

(B) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), 42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.;

(C) Federal, State or local cash benefit programs for income maintenance (often called “General Assistance” in the State context, but which also exist under other names); and

(ii) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.;

(iii) Housing Choice Voucher Program, as authorized under section 8(o) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f);

(iv) Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation) authorized under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f);

(v) Medicaid under 42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq., except for:

(A) Benefits received for an emergency medical condition as described in section 1903(v)(2)-(3) of Title XIX of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396b(v)(2)-(3), 42 CFR 440.255(c);

(B) Services or benefits funded by Medicaid but provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.;

(C) School-based services or benefits provided to individuals who are at or below the oldest age eligible for secondary education as determined under State or local law; and

(D) Benefits received by an alien under 21 years of age, or a woman during pregnancy (and during the 60-day period beginning on the last day of the pregnancy).

(vi) Public Housing under section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437g).

(2) Public benefit, as defined in this section, does not include any form of assistance listed in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (vi) of this section received by an alien who at the time of receipt of the public benefit, or at the time of visa application or visa adjudication, is or was:

(i) Enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 504(b)(1)(B) or 10 U.S.C. 504(b)(2), or

(ii) Serving in active duty or in the Ready Reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces, or

(iii) Is the spouse or child as defined in INA101(b), of an individual described in paragraph (c)(2)(i) or (ii) of this section, or of a citizen of the United States described in paragraph (c)(2)(i) or (ii).

(3) Public benefit, as defined in this section, does not include any form of assistance listed in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (vi) of this section received by an alien during periods in which the alien was present in the United States in an immigration category that is exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, as set forth in 8 CFR 212.23(a), or for which the alien received a waiver of public charge inadmissibility from DHS. Public benefit does not include health services for immunizations and for testing and treatment of communicable diseases, including communicable diseases of public health significance as defined in 42 CFR part 34.

(4) Public benefit, as defined in this section, does not include any form of assistance listed in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (vi) of this section that were or will be received by:

(i) Children of U.S. citizens whose lawful admission as permanent residents and subsequent residence in the legal and physical custody of their U.S. citizen parent will result automatically in the child's acquisition of citizenship;

(ii) Children of U.S. citizens whose lawful admission as permanent residents will result automatically in the child's acquisition of citizenship upon finalization of adoption; or

(iii) Children of U.S. citizens who are entering the United States for the purpose of attending an interview under INA 322 in accordance with 8 CFR part 322.

(d) Alien's household. For purposes of public charge ineligibility determinations under INA 212(a)(4):

(1) If the alien is 21 years of age or older, or under the age of 21 and married, the alien's household includes:

(i) The alien;

(ii) The alien's spouse, if physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien in the United States;

(iii) The alien's children, as defined in INA 101(b)(1), if physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien in the United States;

(iv) The alien's other children, as defined in INA 101(b)(1), not physically residing or not intending to physically reside with the alien for whom the alien provides or is required to provide at least 50 percent of financial support, as evidenced by a child support order or agreement, a custody order or agreement, or any other order or agreement specifying the amount of financial support to be provided by the alien;

(v) Any other individuals (including a spouse not physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien) to whom the alien provides, or is required to provide, at least 50 percent of the individual's financial support or who are listed as dependents on the alien's United States federal income tax return; and

(vi) Any individual who provides to the alien at least 50 percent of the alien's financial support, or who lists the alien as a dependent on his or her federal income tax return.

(2) If the alien is a child as defined in INA 101(b)(1), the alien's household includes the following individuals:

(i) The alien;

(ii) The alien's children as defined in INA 101(b)(1), physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien in the United States;

(iii) The alien's other children as defined in INA 101(b)(1) not physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien for whom the alien provides or is required to provide at least 50 percent of the children's financial support, as evidenced by a child support order or agreement, a custody order or agreement, or any other order or agreement specifying the amount of financial support to be provided by the alien;

(iv) The alien's parents, legal guardians, or any other individual providing or required to provide at least 50 percent of the alien's financial support to the alien as evidenced by a child support order or agreement, a custody order or agreement, or any other order or agreement specifying the amount of financial support to be provided to the alien;

(v) The alien's parents' or legal guardians' other children as defined in INA 101(b)(1), physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien in the United States;

(vi) The alien's parents' or legal guardians' other children as defined in INA 101(b)(1), not physically residing or intending to physically reside with the alien for whom the parent or legal guardian provides or is required to provide at least 50 percent of the other children's financial support, as evidenced by a child support order or agreement, a custody order or agreement, or any other order or agreement specifying the amount of financial support to be provided by the parents or legal guardians; and

(vii) Any other individual to whom the alien's parents or legal guardians provide, or are required to provide at least 50 percent of each individual's financial support, or who is listed as a dependent on the parent's or legal guardian's federal income tax return.

(e) Receipt of public benefit. Receipt of public benefit occurs when a public benefit-granting agency provides a public benefit, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, to the alien as a beneficiary, whether in the form of cash, voucher, services, or insurance coverage. Application or certification for a public benefit does not constitute receipt of public benefit, but it may be considered as a factor suggesting likelihood of future receipt. An alien's receipt of, application for, or certification for public benefit solely on behalf of another individual does not constitute receipt of, application for, or certification for such alien.

(f) Prearranged employment. An immigrant visa applicant relying on an offer of prearranged employment to establish eligibility under INA 212(a)(4), other than an offer of employment certified by the Department of Labor pursuant to INA 212(a)(5)(A), must provide written confirmation of the relevant information sworn and subscribed to before a notary public by the employer or an authorized employee or agent of the employer. The signer's printed name and position or other relationship with the employer must accompany the signature.

{84 FR 55012, Oct. 11, 2019]

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