Public charge is a term in immigration law that describes a person who is primarily dependent on the government for support.
Some people who apply for lawful permanent residence or an immigrant visa to enter the U.S. must pass a “public charge” testwhich looks at whether the person is likely to use certain government services in the future.
As part of this test, the immigration officer will consider the immigrant's:
The immigration officer weighs all the factors above to decide if the person is "likely to become a Public Charge.” However, immigration officers will weigh favorably an Affidavit of Support that meets the income and assets requirements.
It’s Important to Know: Most public benefits are NOT considered in the public charge determination and WILL NOT IMPACT the application for immigration status.