“Public Charge” as a an Excuse to Deny Family-Based Immigration Applications

The U.S. Department of State recently issued new data showing that the number of visas issued declined from 2017 to 2018.  Temporary visas issued declined 7%. The number of immigrant visas for individuals seeking permanent residence also declined by 5%.

The main reason for the decline is likely the president’s “extreme vetting” process. This policy has increased scrutiny of all applications. The largest increase in visa denials was based on “public charge” grounds. This occurs when a consular officer denies an application because the officer believes the applicant lacks the financial resources to support him or herself in the United States. The fear is that the applicant may come to rely on the federal government for financial support. Though the legal standard has not changed, the interpretation that consular officers use has. Therefore, it is important to make sure you have the proper documentation of your finances before heading to a consulate appointment. Without the proper evidence, you may face serious delays or denials in the visa process.

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