USCIS Public Charge Inadmissibility Final Rule: Revised Forms and Updated Policy Manual Guidance

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Public Charge Inadmissibility Final Rule: Revised Forms and Updated Policy Manual Guidance

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published revised forms consistent with the final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility, which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including USCIS, will implement on Feb. 24, 2020. Beginning Feb. 24, 2020, applicants and petitioners must use new editions of the following forms below (except in Illinois, where the rule remains enjoined by a federal court): 

In addition, except in Illinois, applicants for adjustment of status subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility and the Final Rule will be required to submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency. Certain applicants whom USCIS invites to submit a public charge bond will use the new Form I-945, Public Charge Bond, for that purpose, and the new Form I-356, Request for Cancellation of Public Charge Bond, to request cancellation of a public charge bond.

Certain classes of aliens (such as refugees, asylees, petitioners under the federal Violence Against Women Act, and certain T and U visa applicants) are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility and therefore are not subject to theInadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. For more information about the classes of aliens who are exempt from the final rule, please see the USCIS Policy Manual.

Reporting Information About Benefits

The final rule requires aliens to report certain information related to public benefits. Instructions for Form I-944 require aliens subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility to report and submit information about whether the alien applied for, was certified or approved to receive, or received certain non-cash public benefits on or after Oct. 15, 2019.

Instructions for Forms I-129, I-129CW, and I-539 require the petitioner or alien to report whether the alien received public benefits since obtaining the nonimmigrant status the alien seeks to extend or change.

Due to litigation-related delays in the rule’s implementation, USCIS is applying all references to Oct. 15, 2019, as though they refer to Feb. 24, 2020. Petitioners and applicants should do the same. In other words, aliens do not need to report the application, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits on the Form I-944 before Feb. 24, 2020. Similarly, petitioners and aliens do not need to report an alien’s receipt of any public benefits on Forms I-129, I-129CW, and I-539 if the benefits were received before Feb. 24, 2020.

Postmarks and Submission Dates for Forms

USCIS will accept the current edition of these forms if they are postmarked (or submitted electronically, if applicable) before Feb. 24, 2020. We will not accept them if they are postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020, except in Illinois. For applications and petitions that are sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx or DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

Illinois Residents

​​USCIS is prohibited from implementing the final rule in Illinois, where it remains enjoined by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. If the injunction in Illinois is lifted, USCIS will provide additional public guidance. If you are applying for immigration benefits and live in Illinois, or are a petitioning employer in Illinois, please review the information on our website about how Illinois residents may access forms and apply in light of the injunction.

Further Information

USCIS has also published guidance based on the final rule in the Policy Manual. For additional information, see the Policy Alert (PDF, 336 KB).

For more information about the final rule, see the Final Rule on Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility webpage. 


USCIS Announces Public Charge Rule Implementation Following Supreme Court Stay of Nationwide Injunctions

Release Date: Jan. 30, 2020

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule (“Final Rule”) on Feb. 24, 2020, except for in the State of Illinois where the rule remains enjoined by a federal court as of Jan. 30, 2020. Under the Final Rule, USCIS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, income, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge.

The Final Rule, issued in August and originally scheduled to be effective in October, prescribes how DHS would determine whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States based on the alien’s likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future, as set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Final Rule also addresses USCIS’ authority to issue public charge bonds in the context of applications for adjustment of status. Finally, the Final Rule includes a requirement that aliens seeking an extension or stay of change of status demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over the designated threshold since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change.

“Self-sufficiency is a core American value and has been part of immigration law for centuries. President Trump has called for long-standing immigration law to be enforced, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is delivering on this promise to the American people,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary for DHS. “By requiring those seeking to come or stay in the United States to rely on their own resources, families and communities, we will encourage self-sufficiency, promote immigrant success and protect American taxpayers.”

Except for in the State of Illinois, USCIS will only apply the Final Rule to applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after Feb. 24, 2020. For applications and petitions that are sent by commercial courier (e.g., UPS/FedEx/DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.  The Final Rule prohibits DHS from considering an alien’s application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain non-cash public benefits before Oct. 15, 2019, when deciding whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge. In light of the duration of the recently-lifted nationwide injunctions and to promote clarity and fairness to the public, DHS will now treat this prohibition as applying to such public benefits received before Feb. 24, 2020. Similarly, the Final Rule prohibits DHS from considering the receipt of public benefits by applicants for extension of stay and change of status before Oct. 15, 2019 when determining whether the public benefits condition applies, and DHS will now treat this prohibition as applying to public benefits received on or after Feb. 24, 2020.

USCIS will post updated forms, submission instructions, and Policy Manual guidance on the USCIS website during the week of Feb. 3, 2020, to give applicants, petitioners, and others ample time to review updated procedures and adjust filing methods. After Feb. 24, 2020, everywhere except in the State of Illinois, USCIS will reject prior editions of forms if the form is postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020. If USCIS receives an application or petition for benefits using incorrect editions of the forms, USCIS will inform the applicant or petitioner of the need to submit a new application or petition using the correct forms.

USCIS will continue to release information through its website in the weeks leading to the rule’s implementation date, including in the event that the injunction in Illinois is lifted. This will include an update to the USCIS Policy Manual.

In the coming weeks, the agency is planning to hold a public engagement for immigration attorneys, industry representatives, and other relevant groups to discuss the final rule.

DHS remains enjoined from implementing the Final Rule in the State of Illinois. Should the injunction in Illinois be lifted, USCIS will provide additional public guidance.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis), and LinkedIn (/uscis).



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‘All’ immigration ‘cheaters’ to face prosecution. Marriage, fraud lawyers targeted

By Paul Bedard

The agency in charge of granting citizenship and visas to immigrants is tired of getting duped by scammers and fraud lawyers and its new boss plans to fight back.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told Secrets that one of his top priorities will be to sniff out fraud among those trying to win citizenship, and take them to court.

“Anybody who lies to us about anything shouldn’t get whatever it is that they are asking for. And to me that’s pretty commonsensical,” he said.

Besides preserving citizenship for those who deserve or earn it, Cuccinelli said that the army of investigators and other officials at USCIS must be respected and not constantly lied to.

“We are taking steps to address all of these things ... I think to the great enthusiasm to the people here in the agency,” he said, adding, “I think we are going to put ourselves in a position to prosecute virtually all of these. And that’s very unique .”


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Officials said that some of those seeking visas and citizenship, and even lawyers representing them, have engaged in rampant fraud.

One typical example is marriage fraud.

“Marriage fraud ... is a high-level frustration, one for our folks who respect their own work. And when they see cheaters they want that dealt with. And it doesn’t respect their work and their effort and their commitment to making these legal processes legitimate if you just let the cheaters go,” said Cuccinelli.

“The reason marriage fraud is so important is because it is associated with citizenship, which is the most valuable thing that we offer here. Everything that we offer here is a privilege, not a right. No non-American has a right to anything that comes through USCIS,” he added.

And in several cases, lawyers for immigrants lie about their clients to get visas — and sometimes the immigrants don’t know their lawyer is committing fraud.

Just last month, for example, a Brooklyn man was charged with submitting over 1,800 fraudulent immigration applications on behalf of 1,000 migrants. In them, he claimed that the women were abuse victims and should get a green card to remain in the United States. But the Justice Department determined that the women were not abused, and never claimed to be.

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The new efforts to stop fraud are part of a broader administration campaign to limit illegal immigration and close loopholes in the system.

Among groups advocating for tighter laws, Cuccinelli’s effort is winning raves.

"Previous administrations have tolerated far too much fraud in our immigration system, instead emphasizing swift approvals. This is unfair to the legitimate applicants, and presents a security risk,” said Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.

“His commitment to imposing more consequences on people who commit fraud will be a big help in reducing it, and that will help unclog the system for everyone,” she added.

Cuccinelli was blunt in his approach to going after fraudulent claims for citizenship, visas, and green cards.

“We want to get to the point of going after every single one of them. And I hope that relatively soon we will be doing that,” he said.

“The burden is on immigrants coming to us to justify whatever they want from us,” he said.


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Quiros to Pay $84 Million for EB-5 Investment Fraud

Monday, February 5, 2018

On February 2, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced an $84 million settlement ($81.4 million in disgorgement, $2.5 million in prejudgment interest, and a $1 million civil penalty) with Jay Peak ski resort owner Ariel Quiros. The SEC brought charges against Quiros in early 2016 after discovering his nearly decade-long scheme perpetrated through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program). The EB-5 Program offers foreign investors the chance to earn permanent residence in the U.S. if they make an investment of $1 million or $500,000 in U.S. project that creates or preserves at least 10 jobs.

Quiros and William Stenger, the president and CEO of Jay Peak (who has already agreed to cooperate with the SEC), used the EB-5 program to raise more than $350 million from 700 foreign investors for the construction of Jay Peak ski resort in Vermont. Unfortunately for the investors, a majority of their money was never used to construct the ski resort or create jobs. According to the SEC’s complaint, Quiros and Stenger misused more than $150 million of the foreign investors’ money in a “Ponzi-like fashion” to cover losses in unrelated projects. In addition, Quiros used more than $50 million of the investors’ money as his own personal piggy bank, which included the purchase of a luxury condominium, payment of his income taxes, and the acquisition of an unrelated resort.

This $84 million settlement represents only one of the many lawsuits initiated as a result of the fraudulent EB-5 project. In another suit, Jay Peak’s EB-5 investors filed a class-action lawsuit against Raymond James, which held the investors’ funds, and its former branch manager, Joel Burstein, for facilitating the scheme. According to court documents, Raymond James and Burstein aided and abetted the fraud by, among other things, providing millions of dollars in loans to Quiros that were collateralized with the EB-5 investors’ funds, even though they knew that the funds belonged to the investors. In April 2017, Raymond James agreed to a record-setting EB-5 settlement of $150 million with the investors. Citibank also agreed to a $13.3 million settlement for extending a $15 million personal line of credit to Quiros, which was also secured by using investors’ funds as collateral.

In total, the fraudulent EB-5 project and the subsequent litigation lasted more than a decade. In recent years, the SEC has utilized whistleblowers to detect and halt ongoing EB-5 investment fraud well before it grows to Jay Peak’s magnitude. In exchange for information about EB-5 fraud (or any other securities law violation), the SEC offers monetary awards to whistleblowers under its SEC Whistleblower-Reward Program. The SEC has already issued a $14.7 million SEC whistleblower award to a whistleblower who reported EB-5 investment fraud (see details below).

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