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Public Charge FAQs for Applicants Living in Illinois (No Longer Applies)

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PLEASE NOTE: THE INFORMATION IN THIS POST NO LONGER APPLIES. ON FEBRUARY 21, 2020, THE SUPREME COURT ISSUED A RULING ALLOWING THE GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT THE PUBLIC CHARGE RULE TO RESIDENTS IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. USCIS HAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE PUBLIC CHARGE RULE WILL BE IMPLEMENTED NATIONWIDE INCLUDING IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS TO APPLICATIONS POSTMARKED ON OR AFTER FEBRUARY 24, 2020.

In this blog post we will discuss whether the public charge rule applies to individuals living in Illinois.

The Supreme Court’s decision on January 27, 2020 lifted all lower court injunctions preventing the government’s implementation of the public charge rule, with the exception of an injunction preventing the government from imposing the rule in the state of Illinois.

USCIS has clearly stated that although the agency will implement the public charge rule on February 24, 2020, the agency is prohibited from implementing the rule in the state of Illinois, where it remains enjoined by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Accordingly, at this time, the public charge rule does not apply to individuals living in the state of Illinois. In the event the injunction in Illinois is lifted the public charge rule may apply. If this occurs, USCIS will provide additional guidance for individuals residing in the state of  Illinois on its website.

The following frequently asked questions have been prepared to better inform applicants and petitioners living in the state of Illinois regarding the public charge rule.

Q: Does the rule apply to adjustment of status applicants in State of Illinois?

A: No. USCIS has clearly stated on its website that, “applicants for adjustment of status who live in Illinois and who are subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility are not subject to the final rule.”

DHS has stated that it will NOT apply the public charge rule to an applicant, petitioner or beneficiary for adjustment of status, extension of stay, or change of status whose physical address is in Illinois at any point during the adjudication of the application.

Q: How will USCIS determine whether I am living in the State of Illinois?

A: USCIS will determine whether an applicant lives in the state of Illinois by using the applicant’s current physical address as provided by the applicant in Part 3 of the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Q: What happens if I move to Illinois after filing my petition?

A: An applicant who files for adjustment of status on or after February 24, 2019 and subsequently moves to the state of Illinois while the application is pending, must notify USCIS of a “bona fide” change of physical address before USCIS concludes adjudication of the relevant application or petition by filing a change of address online.

In the case of a Form I-129 filed by a petitioner on behalf of a beneficiary, USCIS will consider a change in the petitioner’s/employer’s, or beneficiary’s physical address to a location in Illinois at any point during the adjudication process as long as USCIS is notified of a bona fide change in the applicant’s, beneficiary’s and/or the petitioner’s/employer’s physical address before USCIS concludes the adjudication of the relevant application or petition.

Q: Where can I file a change of address?

A: For most petitions, you may file a change of address online.

Q: Does the final rule apply to me if I move out of Illinois?

A: If an applicant or petitioner on a beneficiary’s behalf submits an application or petition while the applicant, petitioner or beneficiary is living in Illinois, but the applicant or petitioner notifies USCIS of a bona fide change in the applicant’s, petitioner’s or beneficiary’s physical address to a different state while the application or petition is pending, the final rule will not apply to the application or petition.

Likewise, if an applicant or a petitioner on a beneficiary’s behalf submits an application or petition while the applicant, petitioner or beneficiary is living outside of Illinois, but the applicant or petitioner notifies USCIS of a bona fide change in the applicant’s, petitioner’s or beneficiary’s physical address to an Illinois address while the application or petition is pending with USCIS, the final rule will also not apply to the applicant.

Q: What is a Bona Fide Change of Address?

A: As a reminder, all changes of address filed with USCIS must be “bona fide” meaning that the applicant must sincerely attest that they have moved to the state of Illinois. Furthermore, as a reminder, “as with all information provided on an application or petition, in signing the application or petition, the applicant or petitioner is certifying, under penalty of perjury, that the physical address provided on the form is true and correct.” Falsely reporting information on an application or petition and change of address form will result in serious consequences.

Q: If I am living in the State of Illinois which form edition dates do I need to use?

Note: USCIS will reject applications and petitions submitted on incorrect editions of the forms.

A: Applicants living in the state of Illinois must continue to submit their applications on the prior edition of Form I-485 with the July 15, 2019, or December 13, 2017 edition dates.

Q: If I am living in the State of Illinois do I need to submit Form I-944 with Form I-485?

A: Applicants living in the state of Illinois do not need to complete the new Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency with Form I-485.

Q: If I am living in the State of Illinois where do I mail my adjustment of status application?

A: According to USCIS, applicants who file Form I-485 concurrently with an underlying immigrant petition (for example, Form I-130, Form I-140, or Form I-360) should submit the entire Form I-485 package together to the NSC address provided below to facilitate processing.

[USPS]

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
ATTN: Illinois Team
P.O. Box 82521
Lincoln, NE 68501

Courier Service

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
ATTN: Illinois Team
850 ‘S’ Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Q: Does the rule apply to extension of stay and change of status applicants and petitioners in the State of Illinois?

A: No. Applicants and petitioners seeking to extend an alien’s nonimmigrant stay or change an alien’s nonimmigrant status in Illinois are not subject to the final rule. In other words, if a physical address is in Illinois, the final rule will not apply.

Q: Change of Status/Extensions: How will USCIS determine whether I am living in the State of Illinois?

  • For Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, USCIS will use the applicant’s physical address to determine whether the applicant is subject to the final rule.
  • For Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, and Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker, USCIS will use the petitioner/employer’s physical address and the beneficiary’s physical address as listed on the Form I-129 or I-129CW to determine whether the beneficiary of the petition is subject to the final rule.

Q: If I am a Petitioner filing Form I-129 in the State of Illinois which form edition dates do I need to use?

Note: USCIS will reject applications and petitions submitted on incorrect editions of the forms.

  • Form I-129: Petitioners filing the Form I-129 who are covered by the Illinois injunction must use the prior version of Form I-129, which has an edition date of 01/08/2020 (or 01/31/2019, while that edition remains acceptable).
  • Form I-129CW: Petitioners covered by the Illinois injunction who file Form I-129CW must use the prior version of the Form I-129CW that has an edition date of 12/02/2019.
    • Petitioners can find the edition date at the bottom of the page on the form and instructions.
  • If the petitioner is covered by the Illinois injunction, we will reject any version of the Form I- 129 or Form I-129CW that does not display the prior edition dates noted above.

Q: If I am submitting a standalone Form I-539 not submitted concurrently with Form I-129 which edition date should I use?

Note: USCIS will reject applications and petitions submitted on incorrect editions of the forms.

  • Form I-539: Any applicant submitting a Form I-539 that is covered by the Illinois injunction and that is not being submitted concurrently with a Form I-129 or Form I-129CW should also use the 12/2/2019 edition date and send their application to the following address.

USPS

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
ATTN: I-539 Team
P.O. Box 82521
Lincoln, NE 68501

Courier Service

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
ATTN: I-539 Team
850 ‘S’ Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

Reminder: Starting on or after [Feb. 24, 2020], electronic filing of Form I-539 will not be available to applicants residing in Illinois

Q: If I am a Petitioner filing Form I-129 where do I mail the applications?

A: Petitioners covered by the Illinois injunction should continue to send their Form I-129 or Form I-129CW to the direct filing address for Form I-129 and Form I-129CW provided at uscis.gov, along with any Form I-539 that is accompanying the Form I-129 or Form I-129CW.

For further information for individuals residing in the state of Illinois please click here.