The evaluation of Form I-944 includes the review of several different factors. The determination of an intending immigrant’s likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future is a prospective determination that is based on the “totality of the circumstances” and by weighing all of the factors that are relevant to an individual’s case. In other words, these various criteria are reviewed together.
Therefore, an applicant cannot count on one factor to “qualify” them for a green card or remove the public charge ground for inadmissibility.
Totality of the Circumstances
In the law, the totality of the circumstances test refers to a method of analysis where decisions are based on all available information rather than clear-cut rules. No one factor is cause for a determination. A USCIS officer must consider all factors, positive and negative, to decide if an intending immigration is likely to become a public charge in the future.
USCIS will consider the following factors when making a determination if an applicant is likely to become a public charge at any time in the future:
- Family status
- Assets, resources, and financial status
- Education and skills
- Prospective immigration status
- Expected period of admission
- Sufficient Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)
Other than not submitting a sufficient Form I-864 (or I-864EZ) there is no single factor makes an intending immigrant inadmissible based on the public charge ground.
Requirements for Form I-944
Each of the factors listed above is covered on Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency. USCIS uses the form and supporting documents to gather information about an applicant’s ability to be self-sufficient now and in the future. Therefore, USCIS will look at more than just household income and financial resources. They will consider education, English proficiency, employability and even your health. Again, each of these factors will be evaluated together.
For a more detailed explanation of what makes each factor positive or negative, read the Public Charge Rule Explained.
Minimum Income Requirement
Generally, an immigrant who is subject to the public charge rule must be in a household with income that is 125% of the poverty guideline (as reference on Form I-864P). For military households, the income requirement is reduced to 100% of the poverty guideline.