LATEST NEWS ALERT: USCIS to implement new forms and “public charge” rule beginning Feb 24, 2020 – (02/07/20)

Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to issue a stay of nationwide injunctions, with the exception of the state of Illinois, USCIS will implement the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” final rule on February 24, 2020. Under this rule, USCIS will consider an alien’s age, health, income, education and skills, and other factors in order to determine whether that person “is likely at any time” to become a public charge, and if so, may then deem that person inadmissible to the United States. For visiting artists, this policy change will affect petitions involving an extension of stay or change of status, as aliens will need to demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over the designated threshold since the time they obtained the nonimmigrant status they are seeking to extend or change. ALL petitioners except those based in Illinois will need to begin using the new edition of the I-129 beginning February 24, 2020 (dated 01/27/20 in the bottom left of the form). If a petition is being filed that does not request for the beneficiary’s change of status or extension of stay, the new Part 6 section of the Form I-129 that requests information about public benefits can be skipped. Please see the USCIS webpage on the I-129 for more details and links to the Form I-129 - Preview (PDF, 2.01 MB) and Instructions for Form I-129 - Preview (PDF, 467 KB).

Due to the court action over the past several months, any receipt of public benefits from before February 24, 2020 will not be counted toward the consideration of admissibility or in applications for extension of stay and change of status. Any public benefits received by aliens beginning on or after February 24, 2020 will need to be counted and reported in future applications.

USCIS has posted updated forms and instructions, and these new forms must be used beginning with petitions postmarked on or after February 24, 2020 except in the state of Illinois. New sample I-129 O and P arts petitions have been posted under the Sample Petitions and Forms section of the Artists from Abroad Immigration Procedures Appendix.