What is cross-chargeability?

Where a foreign national was born can determine when that person may seek to immigrate to the United States. The priority date issued to the foreign national along with where the foreign national was born will determine where the person is in the queue in their quest to seek permanent residence. In an attempt to be fair, Congress wanted the annual allotment of green cards to be equally shared amongst all countries. Some countries have far more nationals who pursue immigration to the U.S. than other countries. For example, immigration demand from India, Mexico, China and Philippines are greater than the number of green cards available to those countries. In turn, immigration for a foreign national from those countries can take many years more than if the foreign national was born in a country that was not oversubscribed. Generally, a foreign national who seeks to immigrate to the United States is subject to the country they were born in and therefore the numerical limitation on annual immigration for that specific country, even if they no longer live in that country. Cross-chargeability is an exception to the above rule that may allow a foreign national, in certain limited cases, to use the country of birth of their spouse or parent in order to legally circumvent the numerical limitation on the foreign national’s actual country of birth.

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