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Updated editions of Forms I-129 and I-539 and the Public Charge Regulation



On Aug. 14, 2019, DHS published a final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility (see section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act). The final rule becomes effective Oct. 15, 2019.  


What this means


The current editions of Forms I-129 and I-539 will be accepted if they are postmarked on or before Oct. 14. USCIS will not accept them if they are postmarked on or after Oct. 15.   On or after Oct. 15, USCIS will accept only updated editions that will be linked to this page.


Public Charge Rule


The new editions of Forms I-129 (used for most nonimmigrant visa categories, including H-1B, L-1, TN, O-1, E-2 and more) and I-539 (used for extension and change of status applications for B-1, B-2, Dependents of E-1, 2, and 3, F-1, H-4, J-1, L-2, O-3, P-4, R-2, TD, along with some other less common visa classifications), will include a new Public Charge section with the following questions that must be answered by the employer/sponsor:


1. Has the beneficiary received, since obtaining the nonimmigrant status that you seek to extend or that you seek to change on behalf of the beneficiary, received, or is the beneficiary currently certified to receive, the following public benefits?

(select all that apply). [] Yes, the beneficiary has received or is currently certified to receive the following public benefits: (select all that apply) [] Any Federal, State, local or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance [] Supplemental Security Income (SSI) [] Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) [] General Assistance (GA) [] Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called “Food Stamps”) [] Section 8 Housing Assistance under the Housing Choice Voucher Program [] Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (including Moderate Rehabilitation) [] Public Housing under the Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq. [] Federally-Funded Medicaid

[] No, the beneficiary has not received any of the above listed public benefits. [] No, the beneficiary is not certified to receive any of the above listed public benefits.


If the beneficiary has received or is certified to receive any of the above-mentioned public benefits, then the following information must be provided:


Type of Benefit Agency that Granted the Benefit Date the Beneficiary Started Receiving the Benefit or if Certified, Date the Beneficiary Will Start Receiving the Benefit (mm/dd/yyyy) Date Benefit or Coverage Ended or Expires (mm/dd/yyyy)


If you have received any of the above benefits, you should speak with a qualified immigration attorney before filing an extension or change of status with USCIS to understand whether you may be subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility.


This post is for informational purposes only. Please call our office to set up a consultation to discuss your specific issue.