The changes introduced by the former Trump Administration to the “Public Charge rule” was mainly to reduce the number of people who were eligible for a Green Card, or officially called a Permanent Resident Card and other US visas, by redefining what made them dependent on government benefits or “likely” to be in the future. Meaning it will be difficult for immigrants to apply for permanent residence if they are receiving any social assistance provided by the US government.
While the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule is no longer in effect, medical treatment in the US remains very expensive. Therefore to avoid receiving social benefits, it is always best to apply for health insurance. Your health insurance card will make or break your Green Card application.
The US Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have their versions of the public charge rule. Technically, the rules might be different, but there are many similarities. Public charge is considered as a grounds for inadmissibility to the United States. If you are likely to become a public charge, then the immigration official can deny your Green Card application.
To avoid this, you must demonstrate that you have enough financial resources and adequate insurance to cover any medical expenses that may arise in the future to assure the immigration official that you will not become a public charge shortly. Health insurance cards are considered a good factor in demonstrating this. However, not having health insurance may work in a negative way for your application.
What Is the Department of State Form DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire?
Due to the 2018 rule change, new immigrants were required to submit Form DS-5540, also known as the Public Charge Questionnaire. This questionnaire gathers information regarding your health and financial status to help the consular official determine the possibility of you becoming a public charge in the future. Applicants were required to prepare for this questionnaire before their interview and have any supporting documents and evidence ready to demonstrate their financial ability.
Having a serious medical condition, especially anything that will cost a lot to treat, will require you to demonstrate that it is covered by your health insurance and your ability to pay for your medical expenses in the US.
How to Apply for a Green Card from Inside the United States?
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is responsible for processing Green Card applications from inside the US. Immigrants applying from inside the US are required to adjust their status. The USCIS has its guidelines regarding the public charge rule which is different from the State of Department’s guidelines. Though, it is still very similar.
It is determined that you will not become a public charge in the future if:
- You have private insurance for the expected period of admission
- You are not receiving any subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the form of premium tax credits for this private health insurance