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Immigration Law

State Department 'Public Charge' Interim Final Rule, Request for Comments

Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 198 / Friday, October 11, 2019

"This final rule amends Department of State (‘‘Department’’) regulations by prescribing how consular officers will determine whether an alien is ineligible for a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act (‘‘INA’’), because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek a visa, application for admission, or adjustment of status must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of ineligibility or if the alien obtained a waiver. This interim final rule adds certain definitions, including definitions of public charge, public benefit, alien’s household, and receipt of public benefit. This interim final rule reflects the Department’s interpretation of the pertinent section of the INA as it applies to visa applicants. This rulemaking is also intended to align the Department’s standards with those of the Department of Homeland Security, to avoid situations where a consular officer will evaluate an alien’s circumstances and conclude that the alien is not likely at any time to become a public charge, only for the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the same alien when he seeks admission to the United States on the visa issued by the Department of State and finds the alien inadmissible on public charge grounds under the same facts. The Department is also removing the reference to fee collection for review and assistance with submitting an affidavit of support at consular posts as consular posts do not collect this fee, and an obsolete process related to bonds. DATES: This interim final rule is effective 12 a.m., Eastern Time, October 15, 2019. The Department of State will accept comments up to November 12, 2019."