The I-944 vs. DS-5540
The essence of the Public Charge Rule is to place emphasis on the importance of self-sufficiency. This has always been a principle of U.S. immigration policy. The public charge rule, however, brings it to the forefront.
The public charge rule is embodied by two new forms: the I-944 and the DS-5540. A person becomes inadmissible for adjustment of status or admission to the United States to become a U.S. permanent resident if they are at risk of becoming a public charge. A “public charge” means that they have received certain public benefits within the past 36 months, or are likely to receive them in the future. Each form attempts to analyze an applicant as a whole to consider whether or not they will be able to support themselves independently.
The I-944 is for those inside the U.S. seeking Adjustment of Status. By comparison, the DS-5540 is for those outside the U.S. seeking an immigrant visa in order to become a lawful permanent resident upon arrival.
With both, the I-944 and DS-5540, a petitioner will still need to file an Affidavit of Support to meet minimum income requirements for sponsorship. However, the affidavit will become a factor in the evaluation of your application as a whole.
Both forms take look at many factors, including
- assets and resources
- liabilities and debt
- household size
- previous use of public benefits
These are just some of the factors that can be viewed positively or negatively in your application. It is necessary to fill out each form thoroughly and appropriately. In addition, It is essential that they are properly filed with all supporting documents. Thankfully, an experienced immigration lawyer can help advise how to overcome public charge issues, and navigate these and other forms.