What is public charge and how will it affect me?

Are you applying for a US visa, an extension to a visa, a green card, or change of status? This page will help you understand the new public charge rule. It will tell you what has changed and how that change may affect you.


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Photo: iStock/Beto

Public charge update – March 2020: USCIS says that healthcare for coronavirus is not a public charge.

If you need to use public benefits to get medical care for COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, it will be not be counted against you in your immigration application. You can read more details in English or in Spanish.

Who or what is a public charge?

Many people in the USA get help from the government for basic needs. Public charge is the term used for a person who is receiving government help, which is sometimes called “public benefits.”

The Department of Homeland Security has made a new rule. It is called the public charge rule

The information on this page comes from USCIS and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are looking for a free or low-cost lawyer or legal help, we can help you find free and low-cost legal services.