Public charge

Talk to a qualified immigration attorney if you have questions.

San Franciscans with questions about "public charge" should contact a qualified immigration attorney. These consultations are free or low-cost for San Franciscans.

Talk to an expert

You may also contact the SF Human Services Agency with questions about "public charge" and use of public benefits.

The Trump-era expansion of the “public charge” rule is no longer in effect.

On December 23, 2022, the Biden administration's new rule on public charge went into effect. This final rule restores the historical understanding of a “public charge.”

This means health care, housing, food programs, and other basic needs services are safe to use, and eligible immigrants can apply for legal status without fear of the “public charge” rule.

Most immigrants who receive public benefits and services are not impacted by the "public charge" rule. Public charge does not affect humanitarian immigrants like refugees and asylum seekers, or green card holders who are applying for U.S. citizenship or green card renewal.

Tests, treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 are not considered under the “public charge” rule. No one should avoid accessing treatment for fear of being subject to public charge.

The use of health, nutrition, and housing programs cannot be considered in the “public charge” test. Individuals and families that are eligible for assistance should continue to receive the services they need.