How the public charge rule affects green cards, visas, extensions, and change of status

Are you applying for a U.S. visa, an extension to a visa, a green card, or a change of status? This page will help you understand the public charge rule and how it may affect you.

man sitting on steps
Photo: iStock/Beto

Update – March 10, 2021

On Tuesday, March 9, the Biden administration stopped enforcing the 2019 public charge rule restrictions that had been issued by former President Trump. 

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement indicating that it will return to follow the 1999 interim field guidance on public charge. Under this guidance, DHS will not consider the use of Medicaid (except for Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as public charge. 

Medical treatment or preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, will not be considered for public charge purposes.

The Department of Homeland Security will follow the guidance issued in 1999 on how to apply public charge. 

The information on this page comes from USCIS, Protecting Immigrant Families, Proyecto Inmigrante ICS, 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.