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Get ready for your U.S. Citizenship Interview!

Aug 22, 2019

I would like to make a few comments about the new USCIS "public charge" rule before I read the rule's summary and full text.

A “public charge” is a person who depends on the government to pay for his or her food, clothing, housing, healthcare, and more.
The new USCIS "public charge" rule says that an immigrant to the United States must be able to financially support his- or herself.
If a person cannot support his- or herself, then he or she will not be allowed to legally enter the United States.

I want to emphasize that new "public charge" rule affects people who want to get a Green Card and become Legal Permanent Residents.

The "public charge" rule does not directly affect people who are legal permanent residents.

Although the "public charge" rule is not about legal permanent residents who are preparing for their citizenship interview,
they should be prepared to answer extra questions about their financial status if they submitted a I-912 Fee Waiver Form or an I-942 Fee Reduction Form with their N-400 Application for Naturalization which USCIS plans to update on Oct 15, 2019 to reflect the changes of the new "public charge" rule.

I want to talk a little bit more about the indirect impact of the "public charge" rule on the citizenship interview.

The current administration is particularly concerned about immigrants ability to financially support themselves.

During the Citizenship interview about Employment and School (N-400 Part 8) a USCIS officer sometimes asks a non-working applicant
about a spouse's occupation, place of employment, and joint tax returns.

Furthermore, Senior Citizens who are preparing for their citizenship interview, should be prepared to answer more questions about financial support.

Example: (excerpt from Mr Wang)

More examples

  • Senior citizens may also be asked about taxes, for example:
  • Does your child declare you as a dependent on his or her tax return?

Do you pay taxes on your pension or investments in a foreign country?

Part 12:30i, is strongly linked to the "public charge rule."
It asks: Have you ever made any misrepresentation to obtain any public benefit in the United States?

Public benefits is financial help from the government such as food stamps or healthcare, these are not part of the new "public charge" rule.

Some public benefits such as rent assistance, scholarships, or unemployment insurance are seen as means of financial support and may be asked about during the Part 8 Employment and Schools section.

If you were legally qualified to received these benefits, it's ok.
Receiving public benefits does stop you from getting Citizenship.

If the USCIS officer needs further evidence such as tax returns or public benefits forms they will send you a letter requesting the specific documents after you complete your citizenship interview.

Finally, once a legal permanent resident becomes a new US citizen,
he or she may sponsor his or her relatives to come to the United States.

USCIS will look very carefully potential immigrants' ability to support themselves.

USCIS will look at their work skills, education, and ability to speak English.

USCIS will also look at the applicant's health, finances, and ability to integrate into American society.

The sponsor must submit to Affidavit of Support which details their own ability to support the new immigrant.

For more details, see the show notes for the links Green Card Process Procedures, particularly the Public Charge page.

Let's get started Green Card Process Procedures Public Charge

USCIS Announces Final Rule Enforcing Long-Standing Public Charge Inadmissibility Law (08/12/2019)

Excerpt from Chengyu Wang’s Practice U.S. Citizenship Interview

More 2020 Census Resources for Adult Education students at