Injunction on Public Charge Rule Limited to Residents of CT, NY, and VT

On July 29, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that, following an injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, it would not apply the October 2, 2019 public charge rule “…for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.” The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released a similar statement. Following this announcement, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit limited the injunction to only those applicants who live in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.

Form I-944 and Form DS-5540 Requirements

Under the October 2, 2019 public charge rule, a foreign national filing an application to adjust status (form I-485) must also include a declaration of self-sufficiency (form I-944). A foreign national applying for an immigrant visa is instead required to submit a public charge questionnaire (form DS-5540).

The district court ruling from July 29th led to both forms being suspended from use. However, based on the appellate court ruling, the USCIS and DOS could resume using the forms for applicants not residing in Connecticut, New York, or Vermont. As of the time of this writing, however, the USCIS and DOS have not updated its instructions as to whether the October 2, 2019 public charge rule will be applied to applicants who do not reside in those three states.


The court rulings and lack of updates from the USCIS and DOS have created uncertainty among I-485 and immigrant visa applicants. MurthyDotCom will continue to track this matter and update readers as more information becomes available.


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