Uptick in Visa Denials on Public Charge Grounds in FY-2019

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Although the Trump Administration's expansive new public charge rule does not take effect until October [see blog], Politico reported on August 6, 2019, that visa denials on public charge grounds have increased dramatically in fiscal year 2019 [link].1

According to the report, the U.S. Department of State refused 12,179 visa applications on public charge grounds from October 1, 2018, through July 29, 2019. The state department refused only 1,033 visas on public charge grounds for the entirety of fiscal year 2016.

The report focuses on the large number of refusals of visa applications by Mexican citizens in particular. In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2019, the DOS denied 5,343 immigrant visa applications by Mexicans on public charge grounds. Only 7 such applications by Mexicans were denied in the entirety of fiscal year 2016.

The numbers obtained by Politico indicate that the Trump Administration has applied the public charge ground of inadmissibility more stringently than did the Obama Administration in 2016. Considering that the uptick in denials occurred under the rules in place since 1999, it is likely that the imposition of the new public charge rules in October will create an even higher bar for family-sponsored immigrant visa and adjustment of status applicants going forward. Those with case-specific concerns should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on the applicable public charge rules and concerns that may arise in their immigrant processes.


  1. Hesson, Tim. “Exclusive: Visa denials to poor Mexicans skyrocket under Trump's State Department.” Politico. Aug. 6, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/06/visa-denials-poor-mexicans-trump-1637094
Uptick in Visa Denials on Public Charge Grounds in FY-2019