2010 Poverty Guidelines Published

2010 Poverty Guidelines Published

filing fee increaseThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has recently published a delayed update of the poverty guidelines for the remainder of 2010.  The poverty guidelines are usually published every year in late January or early February.

The reason for the delayed update of this year’s poverty guidelines was due to legislation enacted in late 2009 and early 2010 did not allow the 2010 poverty guidelines to be published on time.  Therefore, lawmakers ordered that the 2009 guidelines remain in effect until the guidelines get published.

These guidelines are relied on by federal government agencies such as the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine whether foreign nationals that are applying for permanent residence (green cards) particularly family-based, are likely to become a public charge.

The term public charge has been codified in the immigration law for over 100 years.  It is both a ground of inadmissibility and deportation.  Moreover, a foreign national who is determined by the USCIS to become a public charge is deemed inadmissible to the U.S. and, hence ineligible to become a legal permanent resident (green card holder).

In order to prove that a foreign national would not become a public charge, an Affidavit of Support must be submitted along with supporting documents to substantiate the financial figures listed on the affidavit.  As long as the petitioner’s yearly income for the number of persons in the household exceed the minimum amount as per the guidelines, the applicant would not be deemed by the USCIS to be a public charge.


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