NewsFlash! DOS Implementing Public Charge Rule, Effective 24.Feb.2020

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the public charge questionnaire (form DS-5540), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will implement its new public charge rule, effective February 24, 2020. The DOS has also updated the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) with instructions for consular officers on how to make public charge determinations.

Most immigrant visa applicants will have to complete a DS-5540; however, if a family unit applies together, only one DS-5540 will be required. The DS-5540 requires each applicant to submit a few documents, if applicable (e.g., evidence of health insurance, U.S. tax records). Beyond that, applicants are not required to submit other supporting documentation with the initial filing. But, if the consular officer is not convinced that the applicant has adequate financial resources, the officer may request additional documents.

As with most immigrant visa applicants, nonimmigrant visa applicants will also typically be subject to the new public charge rule. However, a nonimmigrant visa applicant will only be required to complete form DS-5540 if the officer believes “additional information is necessary to determine whether the individual’s assets, resources, and financial status are sufficient to address any concerns about eligibility on public charge grounds.”

More details on the DOS public charge rule are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, DOS Rule on Determining Visa Ineligibility Based on Public Charge Grounds (24.Oct.2019).


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