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Public Charge

Public Charge Final Rule


The Public Charge Final Rule (“Final Rule”) will take effect February 24, 2020. Per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), the Final Rule will only apply to Lawful Permanent Resident (“Green Card”) applications submitted on or after February 24, 2020. 

AltaMed encourages communities to educate themselves about how the Final Rule may apply to them and their families. 


Please talk to an immigration attorney for more information. 

What has the Final Rule Changed? 

The Final Rule changes the definition of Public Charge by creating an additional basis for denying a Green Card to applicants who have used, or are considered “likely” to use, public benefits including Medicaid (“Medi-Cal”), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”, formerly known as food stamps), Federal Public Housing and Section 8 assistance, or cash assistance under SSI, TANF or similar state, local, or tribal programs.  

Who is impacted? 

  • The Final Rule only impacts individuals applying for Green Card status or a visa for the first time, and Green Card Holders who leave the U.S. for six months or more.
  • The Final Rule does not apply to: 
    • Self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act
    • Refugees, asylees, survivors of domestic violence, survivors of trafficking and other serious crimes, and certain other protected groups
  • In regards to utilizing Medi-Cal health services, the following are exempt:
    • Children younger than 21 years of age;
    • Pregnant women up to 60 days after giving birth;
    • Restricted-scope emergency Medi-Cal;
    • State-funded health programs including Medi-Cal for income-eligible undocumented young adults up to age 26 under


Note: Medicaid, SNAP, HUD public housing, and “Section 8” housing benefits received before February 24, 2020 will not be considered in the Final Rule determination.

Please consult an immigration attorney for all your questions related to the Final Rule.

AltaMed is here to serve you, and we remain committed to our patients and our community.

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