On Nov. 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule nationwide. The government appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which stayed the vacatur decision. On March 9, 2021, the government dismissed the Seventh Circuit appeal and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ order vacating the Public Charge Final Rule went into effect.
In light of the decision vacating the Public Charge Final Rule, USCIS immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to that rule.
USCIS is applying the 1999 Interim Field Guidance to the adjudication of any application for adjustment of status that was pending or received on or after March 9, 2021. The 1999 guidance was in place before the Public Charge Final Rule was implemented. In addition, USCIS will no longer apply the separate, but related, “public benefits condition” to applications and petitions for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status.
What This Means for Foreign Nationals
The 2019 Public Charge Rule, now vacated, had expanded the definition of public charge, potentially disqualifying large numbers of green card applicants, while also significantly increasing the burden of proof and evidence of income required for others. Elimination of the rule is a significant step toward ending the chaos stemming from publication of the rule in 2019 and restoring predictability to adjudication of adjustment of status applications.
- Elimination of rule will help to protect adjustment of status eligibility for many individuals, and will streamline the adjustment of status process, as submission of the Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, together with extensive supporting documentation, is no longer required.
- If an adjustment of status applicant previously submitted Form I-944, the documentation will not be considered if the case is adjudicated after March 9, 2021.