About public charge
Some people must pass a public charge test when they apply for a green card (lawful permanent residence) or a visa to enter the United States. The test looks at whether the person is likely to use certain government services in the future. In making this determination, immigration officials review all of a person’s circumstances, including age, income, health, education/skills, and their sponsor’s affidavit of support or contract. They can also consider whether a person has used certain public programs.
For more information about the public charge rule and who it applies to, download the Community Fact Sheet, which is available in English, Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (simplified), Dari, Karen, Nepali, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese.
On March 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would stop defending lawsuits related to the 2019 public charge rule, and the U.S. Supreme Court dropped the case. This ultimately means that the 2019 public charge rule will no longer apply. The application of the public charge determination reverts back to the 1999 guidance. The 1999 guidance is much narrower in scope in terms of programs considered under the public charge rule.
The only programs considered are ongoing cash assistance programs and long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense.
The rule continues to only apply to a subset of the immigrant population — those applying for legal permanent residence or a visa.
Links and resources
Office of Legal Access Programs
Find a list of Colorado Office of Legal Access Programs, which have been accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice. These are mostly low-cost or nonprofit assistance sites where individuals can access trusted advice.
Find an immigration lawyer
Use the American Immigration Lawyers Association's website to find an immigration lawyer.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services links