Public charge is a test used by the federal government to see if someone applying for a green card or a visa is likely to use government programs, and being labeled a “public charge” can be used to deny some immigrants admission into the United States or lawful permanent residency. However, the test does not apply to most people that qualify for benefits. Public charge laws do not apply to immigrants naturalizing to become citizens or lawful permanent residents who apply to become U.S. citizens. For more information, read our fact sheet.
Public Charge never applies to:
- COVID-19 testing and treatment.
- Children, 21 years and younger and pregnant women who use Medicaid.
- Refugees, asylees, survivors of trafficking, surivivors of domestic violence and other serious crimes, special immigrant juvenile status and others.
- Use of emergency Medicaid, WIC, school lunches, food banks, shelters, state or local health care programs, and many more.