DOS Also Implementing Public Charge Rule for Visa Applicants at U.S. Consular Offices
February 26, 2020
As of February 24, 2020, the Department of State (DOS) is requiring all applicants for an immigrant visa (green card, or permanent residence) to complete the new Form DS-5540, a questionnaire which collects information about financial status such as assets and liabilities, health insurance and previous receipt of public benefits, to determine if the applicant is likely to become a public charge in the future. The DOS also has the discretion to require nonimmigrant visa (H-1B, L-1, e.g.) applicants to complete the Form DS-5540. In addition, supporting documentation may be requested by the consular officer for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants.
The DOS public charge rule follows the USCIS public charge rule very closely. The USCIS rule applies to applicants seeking adjustment of status in the U.S. and most nonimmigrants in the U.S. seeking an extension or change of status.
The DOS rule was published as an interim final rule on October 11, 2019 but implementation was delayed until this week. The Foreign Affairs Manual has also been revised.
Weaver Schlenger LLP recommends all visa applicants be prepared with supporting documentation to show the unlikelihood of relying on public benefits during their stay in the U.S. Clients who plan to apply for a visa should contact our office before any travel.
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