Update on the Public Charge Rule: I-944 No Longer Needed
Summary: The I-944 is no longer needed! But the I-864 is still in force, and you should not ignore RFEs related to the I-944.
You may have heard that there has been a change regarding the public charge rule and form I-944 within the US immigration system. But what exactly is the public charge rule, and what has changed?
The Public Charge Rule
For years, the US immigration system has required that many family-based immigrants (and some employment-based immigrants) demonstrate that they have adequate means of financial support and will not rely on the US government to support them. President Trump’s 2019 Public Charge Rule, however, expanded this rule to include a wider range of public services. The new rule also included stricter time limits; anyone who spent a total of 12 months out of any 36 month period relying on public services would be considered a public charge.
The I-944 is no longer needed! Several states challenged Trump’s rule, and the US Supreme Court was planning on taking the case, with the US Department of Justice defending the expanded public charge rule. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the US government will no longer defend the rule, meaning the Supreme Court would have only heard a case against the rule before making a decision. Now, the Supreme Court has dismissed the dispute, and will no longer hear the case. The Biden Administration subsequently announced on March 9, 2021 that the August 2019 public charge rule was no longer being applied. Thus, applicants do not need to submit the I-944 if filing after March 9, 2021.
What if I have an RFE or NOID regarding the I-944?
If you have a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) for the I-944 or for evidence related to the I-944, you should still respond. The reversal of the rule does not mean you can simply ignore the RFE or NOID. However, you do not need to provide USCIS with an I-944 or evidence related to the I-944 at this time even if your case was filed before March 9, 2021. Instead, you can simply send a printout of this page as your response. Further, if the RFE or NOID contains additional issues not related to the I-944, you must still respond to that.
The I-864 is Still Needed
The I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA is still required. The elimination of Trump’s expanded public charge rule and the I-944 does not impact the requirements that were previously in existence regarding demonstrations of adequate means of financial support.
If you have questions about the public charge rule or your specific situation, contact us! We are here to help.
Disclaimer: This post is attorney advertising. It is meant as general information only, and is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. We suggest you set up a consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes; every case is unique and must be analyzed individually.