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60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Public Charge Questionnaire

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Start Preamble

ACTION:

Notice of request for public comment.

SUMMARY:

The Department of State (“Department”) is seeking Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the information collection described below. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we are requesting comments on this collection from all interested individuals and organizations. The purpose of this notice is to allow 60 days for public comment preceding submission of the collection to OMB.

DATES:

The Department will accept comments from the public up to December 23, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • Web: Persons with access to the internet may comment on this notice by going to www.Regulations.gov. You can search for the document by entering “Docket Number: DOS-2019-0037” in the Search field. Then click the “Comment Now” button and complete the comment form.
  • Email: PRA_BurdenComments@state.gov.

You must include the DS form number (if applicable), information collection title, and the OMB control number in any correspondence.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Direct requests for additional information regarding the collection listed in this notice, including requests for copies of the proposed collection instrument and supporting documents to Megan Herndon, who may be reached over telephone at (202) 485-7586 or email at PRA_BurdenComments@state.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

  • Title of Information Collection: Public Charge Questionnaire.
  • OMB Control Number: New Collection.
  • Type of Request: New Collection.
  • Originating Office: Bureau of Consular Affairs, Visa Office (CA/VO).
  • Form Number: DS-5540.
  • Respondents: Immigrant visa applicants, including diversity visa applicants, and certain nonimmigrant visa applicants.
  • Estimated Number of Respondents: 450,500.
  • Estimated Number of Responses: 450,500.
  • Average Time per Response: 60 minutes (10 minutes for applicants completing only questions 4 and 4A, estimated to be 500 of the 450,500 total applicants).
  • Total Estimated Burden Time: 450,084 hours.
  • Frequency: Once per respondent's application.
  • Obligation to respond: Required to Obtain or Retain a Benefit.

We are soliciting public comments that assist the Department in:

  • Evaluating whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper functions of the Department;
  • Evaluating the accuracy of our estimate of the time and cost burden of this proposed collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhancing the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and,
  • Minimizing the reporting burden on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Please note that comments submitted in response to this Notice are public record. Before including any detailed personal information, you should be aware that your comments as submitted, including your personal information, will be available for public review.

Abstract of Proposed Collection

The Department seeks to better ensure that aliens subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient and will not rely on public resources to meet their needs, but rather, will rely on their own capabilities, as well as the resources of sponsors. Through the DS-5540, the Department will collect information in a standardized format regarding applicants' ability to financially support themselves following entry into the United States, without depending on government assistance. Fields primarily pertain to the applicant's health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, skills, health insurance coverage, and tax history. The DS-5540 would also require applicants to provide information on whether they have received certain specified public benefits from a U.S. Federal, state, local or tribal government entity on or after October 15, 2019. Consular officers will use the completed forms in assessing whether an applicant is likely to become a public charge, and is thus ineligible for a visa under section 212(a)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). This collection is consistent with the burden of proof on applicants Start Printed Page 57143under section 291 of the INA to establish that they are eligible to receive a visa, including that they are not inadmissible under any provision of the INA.

Sponsors of immigrant visa applicants must currently provide information regarding their ability to financially support the applicant on an I-864, Affidavit of Support, which consular officers use in considering whether the applicant is likely to depend on certain forms of government assistance. Visa applicants provide limited optional input on the I-864 regarding their assets. The DS-5540 will be used to collect more detailed information on an applicant's ability to support himself or herself. Consular officers will use the information to assess whether the applicant is likely to become a public charge, based on the totality of the circumstances.

Applicants for immigrant visas, including diversity visas, will be required to complete the DS-5540, except for categories of applicants that are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The exempted categories are listed in 8 CFR 212.23(a). Exempted categories include applicants seeking immigrant visas based on qualified service to the U.S. government as an interpreter in Afghanistan or Iraq, visas based on a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act, and visas for special immigrant juveniles. Additionally, a consular officer has discretion to require a nonimmigrant visa applicant to complete the DS-5540, when the officer determines the information is needed, for example, if the officer is not satisfied, based on other available information, that the applicant would be self-sufficient during his or her period of stay. A consular officer may also request any immigrant visa applicant not subject to public charge, but subject to The Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System (Oct. 4, 2019), to complete questions 4 and 4A from Form DS-5540 to establish that the applicant will be covered by an approved health insurance plan within 30 days of entry into the United States, or that the applicant possesses sufficient financial resources to cover reasonably foreseeable medical costs.

Methodology

The DS-5540 will be available online in fillable PDF format. Immigrant visa applicants will download the completed form and then upload and submit the completed DS-5540 and other supporting documentation as a part of their immigrant visa application through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). Nonimmigrant visa applicants who are required to submit this form will be able to do so via email or in hard copy.

Start Signature

Carl C. Risch,

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-23219 Filed 10-23-19; 8:45 am]

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