What is the DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire?
For approximately 20 years, the United States government only required a sponsor to complete USCIS Form, I-864, Affidavit of Support, when a foreign national applies for permanent residency (also known as “a Green Card”).
On February 24, 2020, the government changed the laws related to the public charge rules. On this date, the government required all foreign nationals that are applying for an initial Green Card to submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency or Form DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire. This is true for foreign nationals applying for adjustment of status in the U.S. or for an immigrant visa at a consulate or embassy abroad.
The new form is very controversial, because it requires an extensive list of documents, such as:
- Documents related to prior use of Public Benefits (i.e. food stamps, welfare, etc.)
- Health insurance
- Home appraisals
- Vehicle appraisals
- Mortgage documents
- Credit score
- Credit reports
- Proof of English proficiency
- Bankruptcy records
- IRS Tax Transcripts
- Educational records (i.e. degrees, transcripts, etc.)
- Employment records
- Documents related to debts (i.e. credit card statements, loan statements, etc.)
Additionally, the new rules allow the government to make a discretionary finding of whether a foreign national is likely to receive government benefits. Officers are trained to review various factors, such as:
- Family status
- Family size
- Assets (i.e. income, debts, loans, etc.)
- Financial status
- Other factors
Note: There are some Green Card applicants that are not subject to the new Public Charge Rules. These applicants include: refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) holders, VAWA petitioners, U applicants, T applicants, Cancellation of Removal applicants, etc.
For more information on What is DS-5540, Public Charge Questionnaire, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (281) 777-1236 today. We have two convenient locations in north and south Houston, Texas.
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