A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Stricter "Public Charge" Requirements for U.S. Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visas

An applicant for an immigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States is subject to a number of grounds of inadmissibility such as previous immigration or criminal violations.  Public charge is one of such basis for disallowing a foreigner from receiving a U.S. visa.  Simply put, if the person is likely to become a financial burden of the U.S. government, then her visa will be denied.  Recent changes in the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manuel (FAM) make it more difficult for visa applicants to prove that she is not likely to become a public charge.  
The Immigration Act provides five factors for consideration regarding the issue of public charge, including (I) age; (II) health; (III) family status; (IV) assets, resources, and financial status; and (V) education and skills.  Further, the U.S. government may also consider any affidavit of support provided by sponsors.  However, for many years, the overseas consular officers and the U.S. immigration officers have relied mostly on the affidavits of support (I-864 form) executed by financial sponsors as proof that the visa applicant will not burden the U.S. society.
The recent changes in the FAM have provided new guidance to the consular officers on this important issue:
1) Under the new guidance, the consular officers must examine the visa applicant’s “age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills" in all cases.  The Form I-864 affidavit of support is only a positive factor to consider; an I-864 alone is insufficient proof of satisfying the public charge requirements in most cases.  All relevant factors will be considered in the totality of circumstances.  
2) In fact, the consular officer has to consider the likelihood that the sponsor will actually provide financial support to the visa applicant. Hence, if the financial sponsor is not a close family member, it is possible to argue that the financial sponsor may not be willing to

support the immigrant.
3) Several groups of visa applicants have been identified for heightened scrutiny including children, the aged, the unemployed, retired persons, the disabled, or those who have health conditions.
4) For children under the age of 18 who are not accompanying or following to join a parent/guardian will be subject to heightened scrutiny.  
5) For applicants aged 18 or older, they need to show that they have employable skills in the U.S.  For the elderly applicants, consular officers may view their age as a negative factor to the extent that it affects their employability and potential need for healthcare. 
6) For those who have certain health issues, their ability to work, the likelihood of future medical expenses, or their ability to support themselves and their dependents will be considered. The new guidance even suggests that applicants with health issues may have to provide proof of medical insurance or other proof of ability to pay for any potential medical expenses in the United States.
7) The visa applicant's education, employment history, and offer of U.S. employment may also be considered, requiring them to provide supporting documents in these regards. 
8) Non-immigrant visa applicants (e.g., F-1, B-1/B-2) are also subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. According to the new guidance, consular officers "should not recommend for an NIV waiver an applicant who is ineligible on this [public charge] ground as a matter of policy.”
9) Consular officers are also asked to consider whether or not the visa applicant or a family member in the applicant’s household is currently or has received “public assistance of any type" from state, federal, or local sources.  Previously, receipt of non-cash benefits (e.g., food stamps, medicaid, etc.) were specifically excluded for consideration.   Further, if a financial sponsor has received a means-tested benefit (e.g., housing, food stamps, etc.) within the past three years, the consular officer will review the sponsor’s current ability to provide financial support to the visa applicant. 
No doubt these changes mean tougher adjudication standards for visa applications.  But it is important to note that these are merely policy changes but not changes in the statute.  It will also take some time to observe how each consulate office implements these changes.  

1 comment:

  1. Parking Management Software
    online parking software
    Cloud based parking solutions
    Business Parking Software for Apartments and Condominiums:
    Are you searching for efficient parking software to use? Efficient business parking system for establishments like condominium and apartment buildings is essential when it comes on maintaining comfort and order in your business parking areas.
    Business owners do not need to worry about maintaining order of their business parking areas through using software that involves advanced technology to track parking data of tenants and guests. Business Parking Software for Apartments and Condominiums can help business owners lessen workloads of manual collecting of parking data.
    To use business parking software is indeed a smart choice for many business owners of condominiums and apartments. By means of using this advanced technology, you can easily track records involving parking data of your tenants and guests.
    What is Business Parking Software?
    It is associated with the ability of a website to track parking records of your tenants and guests. It optimizes capacity of your guests and tenants to park because it has the ability to assign parking area. It is software that also works on allowing people to log in so that they can update and manage their vehicles. Other levels of business parking software also allow HOA members, managers, and other authorized people to log in.
    One of the leading providers of business parking software suitable for apartments and condominiums is Web Parking Software. By means of using the parking software offered by the company, you can lessen workload and stress of your guests and tenants on seeking for your assigned parking area.
    Web Parking Software also provides web based tool suitable to use for efficient parking management that guests and tenants can use. It is useful software that people can use of excellent parking management. Features of business parking software for apartments and condominiums offered by the company are listed below:
    1. Easy to Update and Add Information of your Profile- Authorized people can easily list tenants who will use the parking area. They can also create their profiles. You can also upload pictures and documents. You are also allowed to scan forms in order to retrieve deleted information.
    2. Full Registration of Vehicles- Tenants, guests and occupants can also update and manage information of their vehicles. You can update registration information of your vehicles via online. The management will either disapprove or approve your request of changing information or profile of your vehicle.
    3. Easy Search Tool- Searching data is made easier through the help of parking software offered by the company. You can easily monitor who is parking in the wrong parking area, retrieve contact information of tenants and you can easily view history of someone’s parking record.
    4. Email Updating and Sending Information- The software also sends update via email to all tenants and occupants in your condominium and apartment building.
    5. Sending Notice or Violation- The software will also send an email to you in case you committed violations
    Improving the parking system of your business is important to secure comfort and security of your tenants and guests. For more details, feel free to contact www.webparkingsoftware.com