Can your credit history affect your immigration status?

A new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service rule went into effect on Oct. 15, 2019, that could negatively impact your immigration status. The Hill reports that, in an alleged attempt to deport immigrants who pose a potential “public charge” risk to the U.S., the new rule allows the CIS to examine your credit history.

The CIS claims that your credit history can predict your likelihood of becoming a “public charge,” i.e., an immigrant who requires assistance from the U.S. government.

No credit

Immigration advocates allege that one of the major problems with this rule is the fact that many immigrants have no U.S. credit history to examine. For instance, you may have arrived in this country so recently that you have yet to establish credit. The CIS may therefore have nothing other than your credit history in your country of origin to examine.

No correlation

This brings up a second major problem with the new rule: credit standards vary from country to country. Just because you have an excellent credit history in your home country does not mean that it will automatically transfer to the U.S. In fact, it likely will not because of the different standards used by the two countries.

This lack of correlation also extends to the credit score you had in your home country. That number may have no meaning here. To complicate matters even further, several credit reporting companies, including the following, exist in the U.S.:

  • Experian
  • LexisNexus
  • TransUnion
  • FIS
  • Equifax

The new CIS rule does not specify which reporting company it will use when checking your credit history and score.