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COVID-19 Services Will Not Affect Public Charge Determination

Treatment and preventive services for COVID-19 will not negatively affect an individual’s future immigration status, according to a March 6 alert from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Inadmissibility on Public Charge final rule, which the Department of Homeland Security began enforcing Feb. 24, does not restrict access to testing, screening, or treatment of communicable diseases, USCIS clarified. The agency clarified it will consider neither testing, treatment, nor preventive care — including a vaccine, if one becomes available — related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination.

Additionally, COVID-19 services will not be considered for the public benefit condition, which applies to certain nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by a public benefit, such as federally funded Medicaid.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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