Home » US Immigration - Visas » Public Charge Rule for GCs, Transfers, Extensions – H1B, H4, L1 Impact

Public Charge Rule for GCs, Transfers, Extensions – H1B, H4, L1 Impact

DHS’s rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds”, popularly known as “the Public Charge Rule” is one of the biggest changes to US legal immigration in many years. It was officially published on Aug 14th 2019,  in Federal Register as final rule by USCIS. The Public Charge rule was blocked by many courts with injunction order in 2019. Finally on Jan 30th, 2020 Supreme court gave judgement allowing USCIS/DHS to implement the public charge rule as it was originally proposed. USCIS released press note indicating that Public Charge will be effective from Feb 24, 2020.

The final rule document is a massive 837-page document, formatted to fit in 217 pages in federal register. There were 266,077 comments from public for the proposed rule…

The rule impacts a lot of US visa categories and green card (GC) seekers. In this article, we will focus on the general basics of “Public Charge Rule”, its significance, how they will determine, if someone will likely be a public charge, exclusions & exemptions, key factors that are considered for determination, if someone is likely to be a public charge and how it will impact H1B, H4, and L1 visa holders, including Green Card seekers. At the end we will also have FAQs clarifying common questions.

Why is Public Charge Rule a big deal? What is its significance in US Immigration History ?

It is estimated by US Govt. that this new rule would impact a population of about 382,264 annually to be reviewed under this new rule…It is also estimated that the new public charge rule would save about $2.47 Billion Dollars annually in public benefits…Migration Policy Institute estimates that the new income requirement would have denied about 56% (2.3 Million ) of family based green card applicants that were issued in last 5 years. Also, immigration firm Boundless estimates, it could impact over 50% or 200,000 marriage based green cards given every year. It also will have serious effects on the diversity of immigrants in US.

What is the general “Public Charge Rule” in US ?  What is the background ? Is it fully new ?

Public charge rule is not new, it has been there in the US since 1880s. There were some revisions done over the years. The general background of public charge rule is that anyone planning to move to America as permanent resident or get green card should not be primarily dependent on Government benefits for their livelihood in the US. The public charge rule basically wants people moving to US be self-sufficient and they do not become “public charge” or “burden to the US tax payers or US Govt”.  The logic is that immigrants planning to settle in US cannot just become burden by using the US Government programs like food stamps, Medicare, housing benefits, etc. and they need to be self-sufficient. In fact, there are sponsor affidavits (legal contract) in place today for family sponsored green cards categories to make sure the moving family members do not become a public charge.  

What is the New “Public Charge Rule” ? General scope of New “Public Charge” ?

Over the years, the applicability of the public charge rule has been changing with government policies. Since Trump Administration took office, they haven pushing many immigration related changes that came from Buy American, Hire American EO, Many H1B Visa related changes, etc. Similarly, in January 2018, the US consular posts also implemented revised guidelines to ensure Visa officers assess the applicants, if they would become a “Public Charge” for issuance of visas. Read Public Charge Rules at FAM State.gov.

USCIS says that the statue related to ‘public charge’ does not clearly define what is meant by “public benefit” and “public charge” to determine, if foreigners living in US or planning to get green cards would be considered as public charge.  They say that the ‘new public charge rule’ that is published now defines more precisely ‘public benefits’ and ‘public charge’, for assessment to determine if someone would likely become a public charge and exceptions for the same. 

What is a ‘Public Benefit’ ?   When does it become a ‘Public Charge’ ?

Below is general scope that USCIS will consider as ‘public benefit’ used by an individual.

  • General Assistance programs or any of the cash assistance programs for income maintenance from federal, state, local or tribal.
  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Food Stamps, also called as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program(SNAP)
  • Medicaid that is Funded by Federal with some exceptions.
  • Public Housing programs, Section 8 Housing Assistance, Section 8 project based rental assistance

If anyone, unless exempted, uses any of the above public benefits for more than 12 months in aggregate within a 36-month period, they will be considered as “public charge” and inadmissible on public charge grounds. If they use two benefits in a month, that is treated as 2 months and added towards the total 12 months aggregate.

Which Individuals does the Public Charge rule apply to ? Direct Recipients only ?

Unless, they are exempted by US Congress, below are the various categories of individuals that public charge rule will apply:

  • Foreigners seeking Non-immigrant Visas (H1B, H4, L1, etc.) or Immigrant visas outside of US
  • Foreigners seeking to do adjustment of status to Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card) within US.
  • Not all, but some green card holders, when they return from abroad may fall under this rule based on their certain circumstances.

Only the direct recipients of the benefits are considered for the public charge rule, who used them for their own benefit. Meaning, if someone in your family receives benefits, those benefits apply only to them and does not apply to you for determining public charge inadmissibility.  Also, it does not apply to anyone such as guardians, who are receiving benefits on someone else behalf, including someone using power of attorney.  

What benefits are excluded ? Who else are exempted from the Public Charge Rule ?

Exceptions to the above public charge rule are below categories and individuals:

  • Individuals Serving in US Armed Forces, active duty or in reserve, including their spouses and children.
  • Applicants that are exempted by Congress such as refugees, asylum applicants, etc.
  • Adopted Children who will get US citizenship.
  • Any Medicaid received for emergency medical conditions or under Disabilities Act, including Medicaid benefits received by anyone under 21 years of age. Also, Medicaid benefits received by any woman in 60 days period from the last day of the pregnancy.
  • School based services or benefits for students until secondary education.

Requirement of Bond, if someone is determined as Public Charge

 USCIS says that to determine if someone would become ‘Public Charge’ is prospective ( happens in future) and they will consider the overall situation and circumstances of the individuals.  Also, with USCIS discretion, they may request a foreigner to submit a minimum bond of $8,100 (can be higher based on case) and allow them to file for adjustment of status, though they were determined as inadmissible based on public charge grounds.

How does USCIS determine, if someone would be a potential Public Charge in Future ?

USCIS says that they will look at the benefits used by individuals and review them against the 12 month aggregate benefits in last 36 months. In addition, they also will look at the below factors to determine, if they could “likely become a public charge at anytime in the future”. They will give weightage to below factors as positive or negative and determine, if someone could be a public charge in future.

  • Age, Health, Family Status of the individual  
    • Example, if age is between 18 and 61, it is a positive factor, if it is less than 18 or over 61, it is a negative factor
  • Assets that individuals hold, their resources, financial status
  • Education and Skills of the individual
  • Seeking immigration status, their duration of admission
  • Affidavit of Support Form I-864, where required based on the application.   

What factors have heavy weightage to determine potential Public Charge in Future?

USCIS says that they will look at the individual situation and determine the factors based on their conditions. Below are some examples.

  • Authorized to work, but not employed: If someone is authorized to work, but not employed or do not show any employment history or prospects for getting employment, then that individual would be considered a potential for public charge in future.  
  • Severe Medical Condition, No private insurance : If someone has got a serious medical condition and needs extensive treatment, they cannot work with their condition and they do not have option to buy private insurance or have resources to pay for the medical costs related to their medical condition, they would be considered as likely to become a public charge.
  • Household Income – 250% of Federal Poverty Line : If the individual does not have  annual income and assets of least 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for their household size, they are considered a potential for public charge in future. For a family of four, it is about $62,000. So, if you make less than $62,000 a year and have four people in you family, then you are considered inadmissible under public charge.  
  • Private health Insurance, Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credits :  In general, due to the complexities of the Affordable care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, DHS has decided to classify ACA as not a public benefit, so will NOT count for public charge determination directly. They do clarify saying that individual having private health insurance will have heavy positive factor weightage in the determination of the public charge on the overall application. Check Clarification in Federal Register
  • History of Public Charge: If the individual has any history of inadmissibility or deported based on public charge grounds determined by immigration judge or immigration appeals board.

Read detail article on How USCIS uses Form I-944 to determine Public Charge based on various factors.

Now that we understand the new public charge rule, it’s importance, what it means and who all does it apply to and how USCIS determines if someone could become a public charge in future, let’s look at the impact for temporary work visa holders such as H1B, L1 and their dependents on H4, L2 visas.

Impact of Public Charge Rule for H1B, H4, L1, L2 Visa Holders ? Applicability of 250% FPL ?

On a very high level, the impact for work visas holders such as H1B Visa or L1 Visa, including H4 Dependent Visa is very minimal. The reason is that most of these work visa holders arrive in US with a job and have enough income to support their family and also get employer’s private insurance in most cases, except few. With the new Public Charge rule, USCIS would like to ensure that the temporary work visa holders and their dependents do not become a public charge as well. So, they have added requirements that work visa holders and their dependents applying for extensions, transfers & change of status will be subject to the public charge rule review.

All the applicants who file form I-129 for H1B, L1 for extensions, transfers or COS, and their dependents either H4, F1 or L2 holder using form I-539 Form for extensions or COS will be subject to the public charge review. See below screenshot.

Public Charge rule applicability for H1B - L1 - and H4 Visa Holders

Impact of Public Charge Rule for H1B, H4, L1 and L2 visa holders – Key Takeaways :

  • New I-129 and I-539 Forms with Questions on receipt of Public Benefits : USCIS mentioned that the forms I-129 that is used for H1B, L1 and I-539 used by H4 and L2 holders for extensions and Change of status will have new questions that are related to receipt of public benefits. It will impact all the H1B, H4 and L1, L2 filings from October 15th. The H1B, H4 or L1, L2 holders need to prove that they have not used the public benefits for over 12 months in a 36 month period. Also, they may need to file form I-944, called as “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” to prove that they do not become public charge as well.  If using I-539A form,  that is used by I-539 co-applicants they need to answer related questions for the same.  
  • Small Businesses with H1B using Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credits  :  If you work for a small business or startup on H1B or L1 and leveraging the premium tax credits by Obamacare/ Affordable Care Act(ACA) or any subsidies related to the same, then you would not directly be counted towards the public charge. Due to the complexities of the ACA, DHS has decided to classify ACA as not a public benefit. Having said that, they clarified that Private Health Insurance would be treated as a positive factor in assessing the overall application for public charge. The positive factor of private insurance would not apply, if you are using any of the subsidies like premium tax credits. See below screenshots :Affordable Care Act and Public Charge Applicability for H1B holders Premium Tax Credits- Obamacare - Impact for Public Charge Rule
  • No need to establish 125 % or 250% of Federal Poverty line: DHS clarified as responses to comments that the income level requirements  of 125% or 250% of FPL ( Federal Poverty Line) is not applicable to non-immigrant extensions, which is H1B, H4, L1, and L2 visa holders in our context. See below screenshot. They will primarily look at only the public benefits used by the non-immigrant visa holders in the last 36 months to determine, if they have been a public charge. Non-immigrant Extensions Rule of 125 or 250 wage level not applicable  
  • Need to file form I-944 for Adjustment of Status (form I-485) :  The green card applicants like H1B visa, L1 visa holders, etc., who would file for adjustment of status using form I-485 need to file the form I-944, “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency”. The details in the form will be used to determine, if the applicant would become a public charge in future.
  • Concern of Form I-944 – Tax payments, insurance, Credit info, etc. : Some H1B, L1, comments expressed concern that I-944 form requires that you submit many personal details related to medical, tax, finances that employers should not always know… USCIS mentioned that it is required to file all the details, if asked and failure to provide will result in denials.

FAQs on Public Charge Rule:

Does in-state tuition paid fall under benefit for Public Charge ?

No, USCIS does not talk about in-state tuition as a benefit for public charge. They do mention in comments that anything that is not listed as a public benefit in the definition section does not constitute a public benefit and cannot be used for public charge determination.  

Does Primary, Secondary Education in Public Schools count for Public Charge ?

No. Any education or public schools related benefits like attending primary or secondary school education does not count for the public charge determination.

Does past usage of Premium Tax Credits, Subsides count for Public Charge?

No. Premium tax Credits or subsidies related to Obamacare are not a public benefit, so do not count for public charge. But, having a private insurance will be a big positive factor for overall public charge determination. If you are using premium tax credits or any subsidies in the past, which is before February 24, 2020, they will not count or even in future as well, they do not count. But, if you stop using them and get private insurance by February 24, 2020, it will weight in for positive factor.  

Does Scholarships in Universities count for Public Charge ?

No, USCIS does not talk about scholarships and classify it as public benefit, so will not count towards public charge determination.

H4 or L2 EAD Holder Not working count as public Charge ?

No. There is no explicit mention of H4 or L2 EADs not working as public charge.

Is H4 EAD holder working as IHSS provider counted for Public Charge ?

No, USCIS does list In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider as a public benefit, so it does not constitute as a public benefit to be counted for public charge determination.

Huge Emergency Hospital Bill – Waiver in past, does it count as public charge ?

No. Any emergency hospital expenses waiver or Medicare does not count towards public charge. Example, if you had got $10,000 waiver for $15,000 hospital bill, then it is not counted for public charge.

Does State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits from State for Maternity and Paternity leave count for public charge ?

No. SDI related benefits like maternity, paternity leaves are not listed as public benefit in the new rule, so will not count towards the public charge determination

Does federal rebates and state refunds for electric car purchases count towards public charge?

No, they are not listed as public benefit or weighing factor. So, they do not count towards public charge.

I got laid off on H4 EAD and getting unemployment insurance and doing certification course with the help of TAA , TRA. Does it count for public charge ?

No. The unemployment insurance is not listed as public benefit, so it will not count towards public charge. Read below one for overall guidance.

How do I know, if my subsidy, insurance or tax credits is not a public charge ?

USCIS has given clear guidance that, if a benefit is not listed explicitly in the rule, then it is not classified as public benefit and will not count towards the public charge determination. So, don’t sweat too much on this. See below screenshot. DHS final rule on public benefits that are not listed as public charge

When will the public charge bill go into effect ?

February 24, 2020. Any application that is postmarked, meaning received by USCIS on or after February 24, 2020, fall under the new USCIS rules for Public Charge.

From when will the public benefits be counted to determine public charge ?

Only public benefits used from February 24, 2020, will be counted towards determination of public charge. Applicability of Public Charge Rule for Benefits before October 15th 2019

Will public charge rule add more delays to H1B, H4, L1, other visas ?

Yes, it will very likely add more delays to the current processing times. Because, the adjudicator has to review the application, if there was any public benefit used and will count towards public charge. Also, as needed they may also require form I-944 “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, which could even lead to more delays as that is a more comprehensive form.

Will the Public Charge Rule face any legal challenges in Court ?

Well, in fact, many courts blocked the public charge rule from going into effect on Oct 15th, 2019. But, Trump administration took the case to Supreme court and they got judgment in favor of them and lifted the injunction order. So, except in Illinois, USCIS is cleared to implement public charge rule.

That’s about it folks…What do you think of the Public Charge Bill ? How else do you think, it will impact ? Add your comments, thoughts.

Also, you may read Public Charge Rule Impact for F1, F2, OPT, STEM OPT

References :  Federal Register – Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds , Public Charge Rule – Official Public Inspection PDF File (above screenshots from this file)


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  1. Hi I have few questions .
    Here in Bay Area ( trivalley)some Indian run by Telugu owners,, I can see some illegal Telugu immigrant girls working and her mom , sister also here illegally..
    and those girls misusing Indian male customers and going out with them , like that creating lots of issues in families.

    Where to report about these people??

  2. Now that the rule has been blocked by the federal court/even before that, does the public charge rule affect first time applicants for H4? There wasn’t any specific question about this in the DS160 nor did we fill any additional forms – my visa interview is in 2 days and just trying to prepare for it. Any insights would be helpful

  3. I’m on h1-b with approved i-140.

    my wife had a pregnancy complication and we blessed with a baby boy on August,2020 before anticipated due date (6 weeks before due date). Though we had private insurance, i reached max individual out of pocket for both baby and spouse and also family out of pocket max.

    Therefore, Now when i requested hospital for financial assistance( since still my out of pocket due amount was very high) , they applied for FSSA for both baby and spouse.

    In-case if they approve the FSSA benefits for indiana state ( Healthy Indiana Plan) , can i use them for both baby and spouse( she is on H4). will this comes under public charge and cause any issue during green card or h1 extention process

    • shawn,
      You should declare it, but USCIS will not consider it as public charge for up to 60 days from last date of pregnancy or any emergency. Check USCIS page last few lines : https://www.uscis.gov/news/public-charge-fact-sheet

      • Thanks Kumar.
        If we apply medicaid only for US born kid and not to mother. in that case, we no need to declare in the . is this correct?

        if we apply medicaid for mother, then how long do we need to declare it in i-129 form. is it for every extension/transfer untill green card process get finish?

        • shawn,
          There are sections in the form that ask for it. You do not have to declare the ones for US citizen, you need to declare that for anyone on visa.

  4. lot of people already asked about IEP(Individualized Educational Program), is this considered as public charge?.Like others mentioned it comes under IDEA, i.e. exclusions but do we need to provide documentation or just ignore it?.

  5. Hi Kumar,

    I am in H1B visa and got qualified for the earthquake brace and bolt program.
    As part of this program, they provide maximum of 3000$ to all the eligible candidate who got selected in the lottery process to retrofit the house (They provide this to 3000 home owner per year).
    Does this fall in public charge?


  6. Hi ,

    My US born kid is eligible and received SSI and Medicaid in May 2020. Myself and spouse are not eligible for public benefits and have not received anything in the past. Am i affected with this new rule . Do i need to provide this information in visa extension form.

    • Logan,
      It will not affect you. The kid is US Citizen…if you did not use it, no need..Unless, you are applying something for your US citizen kid.

  7. Hi

    I am on H1b and I 140 is approved and got laid off, now I have 60 days grace period to find a new employer so I can get my H1b transfer. I applied for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for 1 week in Massachusetts(not unemployment insurance benefit) and it got approved.  I have two questions-1. Am I eligible to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? If not then what shall i do now ?2. Will it be considered as a Public Charge and will it create any issue in H1b transfer when i find a new employer ?

    Please advice. Thank you in advance!

    • Nitin,
      Some of these are state dependent. If they are not federally funded benefits or not classified as public benefit, you maybe able to as it may not constitute as public charge. Double check with an attorney.

  8. Hi ,

    I have worked on my H4 EAD for last 2 year 4 months & was laid off on March 20th 2020. I am eligible for unemployment benefits…..if I apply will it cause a problem for renewal of H4 application or my spouse H1B application .

    Please let me know. Did any of you apply for unemployment benefits on H4 EAD

  9. In 2018, my wife (H4)and I (H1-B) enrolled in an affordable housing lottery which was a scheme of a bigger housing complex in NYC. Since my wife was on H4 and ineligible to work, our annual household income was between 84k-124k, which made us eligible to enter the lottery and we got picked, thereby getting $500 off the standard rent every month.
    With this new rule, I’m worried my visa extension which is due in 4 months will get instantly rejected/dismissed due to subsidized housing, even though I’m not sure if this counts as subsidized housing.
    Will this rule affect us, since we have been living in the same NYC rent-controlled apartment since 2018? Does this apartment rented through lottery system count as public charge and what can I do to change my status?

    • AS,
      I am not sure, if that falls under public benefit. Is it part of the federal benefits as they listed on the form ? If so, you should stop using the benefits soon as it kicked in from Feb of this year. They look at the holistic situation and not just one benefit for public charge…Talk to an attorney.

  10. I was on F1 student (still I am), my son born on November 2016 and we (due to his US citizenship) go SNAP – food stamp. We stopped that on December 2018.

    This mean we have used SNAP for more than 12 months in last 36 month.

    Now I have full time job and salary more than 250% of the Poverty level.

    Do you think I can get public charge for h1B application?


  11. I am on H1B with i140 approved. My Daughter is US Born.
    She was hospitalized for couple of days (Non Emergency) on Jan 2015. Bill was 4K+ and I was requested Charity care with that Hospital on March 2015, it was approved and bill was reduced to 1.5k.
    Am I effected with this new rule. Do I need to mention anything in upcoming H1B extensions
    Please advise !!!

  12. Hello

    My son is US born and we got Husky B insurance for him in 2019 and we Understood husky B is not Medicaid program, but noticed one of his pediatric medical bill has Medicaid of Connecticut payment and adjustments, that means , he received public benefits Federal Medicaid Program? In My H1B or My wife H4 extension do I need to mention that we received public benefits federal Medicaid program?

    • you dont need to mention if you have taken public benefits prior to feb 24 2020, for more info read instructions doc of h4.
      h1 not required to submot public benefits form.
      if you still taking it i recommend cancel it.

    • Vignesh,
      It is very new and I do not know the specifics of Husky B. In general, if it is not in the list of the benefits they listed, you can ignore them. If you are in doubt, speak to an attorney and clarify.

  13. Hi
    Am in H1 B and recently from 2020 I have been issued a advanced premium tax credit stating as making health insurance affordable, does it have any impact for extension or green card process?

  14. Hi,
    I am getting advance premium tax credits $200 poverty level above 380% from insurance (mahealth connector), I am paying $500 , insurance cost $700 but got tax credit.
    Does this eligible for my next h1b and h4’s renewals? Any issue for renewals?

    Please serious answers required.
    Thanks in Advanced
    ~ Sanjay

    • In general, it is not classified as a benefit. But would be treated as a positive factor to have private insurance. Read above FAQs. BTW, the public charge rule is not effective yet, it is blocked by courts, so we do not know the future of it.

      • Thanks for your comment. thats good if it’s block and hope not classified Advanced premium tax credit that helps me maintain my budget.

  15. I was on Short term disability leave from May till September in the state of CA, meaning I was paid in part by state(or federal?) – not sure. Am I in trouble?

      • I looked into the forms since I’m in the middle of a H1 transfer. They’re asking if I’ve used in the past years, it’s not after Oct 15th.

        • on the form it will say past years which means after oct 15 2019, say for eg you are applying for h1 transfer jan 2020, in the form you see past year which means after oct 15 2019 you used public benefits. open the instructions and read the Note which mentioned you do not need to report if you received benefits before oct 15 2019 but as of now court has issued nationwide injunction on this ruling until this blocked is removed we have to use old forms.

  16. Hello Kumar,

    I am applying for my H1B extension and while filling I539 form for my spouse (H4) i noticed a newly added section “Publice Benefits” . Neither me nor my spouse have received any public benefits. There are two options to select :
    Option1- No, I have not received any of the above listed public benefits.
    Option2- No, i am not certified to receive any of the above listed public benefits.

    With reference to H4 extension,which option to select. Please guide.

  17. Hello Kumar,

    I am applying for my H1B extension and while filling I539 form for my spouse (H4) i noticed a newly added section “Publice Benefits” . Neither me nor my spouse have received any public benefits. There are two options to select :
    Option1- No, I have not received any of the above listed public benefits.
    Option2- No, i am not certified to receive any of the above listed public benefits.

    With reference to H4 extension,which option to select. Please guide.

  18. my wife(h4) used pregnancy medi-cal(medicaid) from 10/2010-7/2011 and 8/2012-8/2013, does this qualify for public charge? do i need to disclose it in the form as she is the only one used it not me(h1) and she does not have ssn during that time. thank you.

  19. Hi My friend wife ( H4 EAD) got laid off recently and getting unemployment insurance and doing certification course with the help of TAA , TRA something.i am not clear.
    This new rule affect them???

  20. I have a question as well. I am currently on H1B and have an extension of work visa coming up in the next couple of months. I currently have a loan from my 401k that I am currently paying off through the payroll. Does having an active 401k loan qualify as a public charge ? Couldn’t find anything in the actual document but want to ask rather than assume.

    • No, it does not qualify as public charge. 401K is your money and your company contribution, not a public benefit listed in the rule.

  21. I want to ask about who won in the dv lottery 2020 and i finished submitting my ds 260 and sent my supported documents to kentucky and iam waiting my interview. Is my case fall under pending applications. Becsuse we are won the lottery according to the old regulations

  22. There two major concerns – a lot of people from the subcontinent who have been waiting for more than a decade and waiting to file for adjustment of status naturally start encountering health issues like heart disease, cancer etc. I am not sure if having a medical condition (even with full insurance and handled with medications) means it is a a negative mark in the application. You are also essentially listing out all your medical conditions to the employer, attorneys etc.
    The second is similar in that families are in varying states of financial stability. Although incomes are generally far above the poverty levels, a lot of people get into debt, may be close to bankruptcy etc. It is unfair to punish people for the financial status brought about partly because of policies like not allowing the H1B spouses to work early on.
    I sure hope this gets challenged in court and gets stopped.

  23. Kumar I have a question about my situation and I hope you able to guide me.

    I am in US on H1B along with my family on H4 from April 2017, but we didn’t have any health insurance plan during this period and also we didn’t use any Obama care/Medicaid/Premium tax credit for same.
    1st employer not giving us health insurance to me and my family as per company policy for initial employment review period.
    2nd / current employer has policy for health insurance to us but as it is very very expensive to me I have opt out and so we dint have any Health insurance during this period. I am planning to enroll in Nov/December 2019 in open enrollment.

    After October 15’2020 we will need to file for H1B & H4 Extension as well as we are going to file I140 for green card so my question as will not had any health insurance in past from April 2017 , is it having any affect on my H1B, H4 OR I140 application?

  24. While on F1, used to have medicaid for Emergency services only, for more than 12 months in 36. Never used it though, and cancelled it in 2018. Would that affect a cos from H1b to green card?

    • It should not, as it clearly tells that anything emergency services does not count towards public charge. Also, in general, your past history does not matter as it only applies to the ones you use after Oct 15, 2019…so, nothing to worry.

  25. Hi Kumar,

    If someone purchased a house in state county running programs. In my area few houses sold for low, 55+ based on income range. Will this impact?

    • The rule of thumb is, if your house falls or you get any benefits under the listed public benefit of housing ( check list above), then it will. It is hard to give a generic answer. You would need to check when you buy or get any sort of assistance, if those fall under that program.

  26. I’m on H1 – getting tax credits/Subsidy on premium thru ACA/Obamacare – Does it Impact my h1 extension ? ( If I still continue Obamacare beyond Oct-15-2019 ) .. I did not get exactly what does it mean by ” Highly positive factor “

    • No, ACA credits do not count for public charge. Read clarification in article. Meaning, there are few things that do not directly consider for public charge, but USCIS has discretion to look at the application overall and rate it based on positive and negative factors, so in that case, they say that having private health insurance will be a positive factor.

  27. It’s confusing. I am a green card holder and I am on Medicaid, and I applied for naturalization 4 months ago. Will this rule impact my situation? Am I included in this?

  28. Hi there,

    After reading your article I then went to the official government federal register to read up on it as I found what you reported about the ACA/Obamacare to be different to what other news outlets are reporting. Please specifically go to page 41837 where public comments are addressed, specifically on Tax Credits. They state…
    “DHS has decided not to
    consider ACA subsidies or health
    insurance received through the health
    insurance marketplace outside of
    Medicaid as public benefits in the
    public charge inadmissibility
    They do say that private Heath insurance not subsidised by the ACA is considered a “heavily weighted positive factor”.
    Your determination is misleading, especially since you stating that ACA subsidies will be considered a public charge which is completely false. They are not and that is stated plain and simply by DHS. Please refer to the public charge section on the USCIS website for reference and then adjust your article so you don’t mislead and scare people into cancelling their health insurance due to false reporting.

    • Troy, Thank you so much for pointing it out. It was an honest mistake, not done with any intention…Got lost reading through 877 pages.
      I have fixed it. Appreciate your time to help and raise it ! It helps everyone get right information and not be misguided.

      • Does federal rebates and state refunds for electric car purchases count towards public charge? Believe not, after reading above, but still wanted to double check. Thanks.

  29. currently i have taken insurance via obamacare or ACA but i am not availing any premium tax credit and paying full premium amount. Do i need to worry about new rule?

    • No need to worry. Obamacare premium tax credits do not count for public charge. But, having private insurance will help weigh in as positive factor for overall application and determination. Read above article, it is clarified.

  30. I been married 2 years and still unable to get my husband to the United States I have health issues and don’t know what to do

    • Sorry to hear…Reach to an agency that helps with family immigration or any national immigration organization, they may be able to help.


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