A public charge is a determination made by the Department of Homeland Security that an immigrant applying for permanent resident status (green card) or admission to the U.S. would become primarily dependent on government assistance upon approval, or, in other words, become a “public charge.” The Trump administration previously expanded the definition of a “public charge” to include certain health coverage programs, but that rule is no longer in effect.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have questions about public charge determinations or public benefit programs, please see a qualified immigration lawyer, or visit Protecting Immigrant Families for more information. If you need immigration assistance, please call the Office for New Americans at 1-800-566-7636 to be connected to free or low-cost, high-quality legal representation/counseling services.
Does enrollment in the Marketplace with premium tax credits count for a public charge determination?
No. Marketplace coverage, including coverage with marketplace premium and cost-sharing subsidies, is not considered a negative factor in public charge determinations and has no effect on permanent residency applications under current policies.
Does enrollment in Medicaid or CHIP count for a public charge determination?
Under current policies, enrollment in Medicaid is ONLY a factor if it is used to pay for institutional long-term care. Medicaid enrollment (except for institutional long-term care) will not impact public charge determinations under current policies. CHIP has never been considered a negative factor in public charge determinations and has no effect on permanent residency applications under current policies.
Currently, public charge determinations still apply to certain non-health-related public assistance programs, as well as institutional long-term care at government expense. Many immigrants are exempt from a public charge determination. Please see a qualified immigration lawyer or use the Keep Your Benefits Guide (available in English, Spanish, and Chinese) to check if you may be subject to a public charge determination and what public programs are considered. The Guide is free and does not ask for any personal information.
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