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Public Charge Halted

On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it is halting the 2019 Public Charge regulation pushed forth by the Trump Administration. The controversial rule, referred to by critics as a “wealth test,” instructed immigration officials to use their discretion to deny green card applications and non-immigrant visa petitions for individuals it deemed likely to rely on public benefits such as public housing or food stamps. The Trump administration’s changes drastically expanded the definition of public charge from someone who is dependent on the government for subsistence to someone who is “more likely than not” to use certain public benefits in the future. Under Trump’s expanded public charge policy, foreign nationals could be denied based on their inability to pay for private health insurance, speak English or obtain high-paying employment. Opponents argued that the regulation was cruel, discriminatory, and specifically targets those most vulnerable.

DHS has now stopped enforcing the Trump-era guidance stating, “The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values… It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them.” DHS will revert to Clinton-era rules that instructed officials only to deem someone a public charge if they were receiving government cash benefits or long-term institutionalized care. “Under the 1999 interim field guidance, DHS will not consider a person’s receipt of Medicaid (except for Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination,” said the agency. DHS also noted, as did the Trump administration, that vaccination and other medical treatment for the coronavirus would not be considered in public charge determinations.

Check out our November newsletter for a timeline of the Public Charge rule since 2018.

TPS for Venezuela and Burma

On March 8, 2021 the Biden Administration announced it is making Temporary Protected Status (TPS) available to Venezuelans with continuous residence in the U.S. since March 8, 2021 (or continuous physical presence in the U.S. since March 9, 2021) who fled the poverty and repression under President Nicolas Maduro. TPS is a temporary immigration benefit offered to citizens of countries afflicted by dire conditions, such as armed conflict, natural disasters, or other circumstances where citizens cannot safely remain in their home country. 

Eligible Venezuelans physically present in the U.S. as of March 8th have 180 days to complete their applications for TPS.

On Friday, March 12th, DHS also announced that TPS will also now be available for eligible Burmese nationals currently residing in the United States, for a period of 18 months.

If you think you may be eligible for TPS and/or are interested in receiving more information, please email us at

DOS Expands Interview Waiver Eligibility

On March 11th, the Department of State (DOS) announced that it has extended its policy to expand interview waiver eligibility for individuals applying for a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification until December 31, 2021.

In summary, if you have applied for a nonimmigrant visa at the same post, you may be eligible to obtain a new visa at that post without an in-person interview. 

Applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expired within 48 months are eligible. Previously, only those applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expired within 24 months were eligible for an interview waiver.

Upcoming Webinars

Exploring the E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is an attractive option for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who wish to start a business in the U.S., or invest in an existing business. Although it’s a “temporary” visa category, many
E-2 visa stamps are issued for 5 years, and the E-2 can be renewed indefinitely as long as you continue to oversee your U.S. investment. If you want the flexibility to spend time in the U.S., without the tax consequences of legal permanent residence, the E-2 is worth exploring!

Come hear Grossman Young partners Becki Young and Sandra Grossman, along with expat tax expert Len Wolf and E-2 business plan expert Marco Scanu share their expertise on the versatile E-2 visa.

This seminar will address:

  • What is the E2 visa category? Which countries / citizens qualify?
  • How to create a successful E2 business plan?
  • How to prepare for the E2 visa interview (and how to address inadmissibility issues)?
  • What are the tax benefits of E2 status?
  • What has changed about the E2 in recent years? What’s the status of BAHA (Buy American, Hire American)?

When: Friday, March 26, 2021 1:00pm ET – 2:00pm ET

Register Here

Adjusting Your Life to Suit Your Adjustment – Do’s and Don’ts for Foreign Nationals with Pending AOS applications

For foreign nationals with a pending adjustment of status (AOS) application, questions arise regarding what they can and cannot do while an AOS application is pending. Some common inquiries include – Can I change my job? Can I travel? Can I extend my nonimmigrant status? If so for how long?

With recent shifts in immigrant visa availability and COVID-related complications, new and more complex questions are arising about travel, work, and maintenance of nonimmigrant status while an AOS application is pending. In this webinar GYH Counsels Rita McCarthy and Khandikile M. Sokoni will review practical ways in which individuals in different visa statuses are impacted by a pending AOS application. The attorneys will discuss important considerations these foreign nationals and their attorneys ought to look out for to ensure their actions do not jeopardize their pending AOS applications or other future immigration benefits.

When: Friday, April 9, 2021 | 1:00pm ET – 2:00pm ET

Register Here