Columbia, SC asked in Immigration Law for South Carolina

Q: Is Unemployment Insurance Benefit Due to laid off Covid 19 a public charge? I am in J1 visa applying for a citizenship

I'm in J1 visa and my 30 days grace period will be done in April 25.Got married to a US citizen and filed I130 and I485 concurrently, got rejected twice. Improper filling and I wasn't able to attach i994. On March 15 I got laid off in Marriott where I am having my internship (Which my contact will get done by March 25) because of Covid 19 and my boss told me to file an unemployment.I tried to apply and even though I wasn't able to provide an Alien number or i94, I got approved. Now, I stop certifying weekly benefits because it might be a public charge.

Is it a public charge? Will it affect my AOS application? Should I get a lawyer since I got rejected twice and my grace period is almost over?

I hope someone can answer my question I am so stressed out because of this.

Thank you so much for your help.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Robert Roy Klein
Robert Roy Klein
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA

A: Unemployment is not considered under the public charge rule.

You should get a lawyer to help with your AOS since it got more complicated with form i-944.

1 user found this answer helpful

Allen C. Ladd
Allen C. Ladd
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Greenville, SC
  • Licensed in South Carolina

A: Don't freak out. It will work out. No, not a disqualifying event. But lack of employment -- and believe me, I'm sympathetic! -- will put more weight on your wife (and maybe a co-sponsor) for financial support.

Here is how the Government replied to a question about receiving SNAP benefits (see *** language, my emphasis):

DHS recognizes that people who are working may also lack self-sufficiency. The person's employment does not negate that the person is receiving the public benefit and the employment is not reimbursing the public benefit-granting agency for the cost of the public benefit. Under this rule, DHS would not treat past receipt of SNAP—or any other benefit—as outcome-dispositive. Instead, *** DHS will assess such past receipt in the totality of the circumstances, to determine whether the alien is likely to become a public charge in the future. ***

Here is the USCIS web page on Public Charge:

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