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Visa chargeability and Cross Chargeability

“Visa chargeability” refers to the regulations which are used to determine which country you are considered to be from when applying for a “Green Card.” Your visa is “charged” to the country you are from for “Green Card” (immigrant visa) application purposes. There are some visa categories which do not have any limit on the number of “Green Cards” that are issued each year, such as the “immediate relative” category for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens. However, the U.S. allocates only a limited number of visas each year for most other visa categories, and there are country limits imposed on China, India, Mexico and the Philippines. When applying for these types of visas, it is important to determine to which country your visa number will be charged, as it could change how long you will have to wait to apply for a “Green Card.”

Generally, your visa number is charged to the country in which you were born.

Cross chargeability is an exception to the general rule that allows the visa number for a principal applicant to be charged to the country of birth of the accompanying spouse. This might happen when a visa will be available sooner to an applicant from the spouse’s country of birth than from the principal applicant’s country of birth. Further, children may be charged to the country of either parent when accompanying or following to join their parent(s).

However, cross chargeability cannot be used to charge the parent with child’s country of birth.

For example, Tommy is born in China and his wife is born in Korea. Tommy is filing an I-140 Petition for Alien Worker under the EB-2 category (NIW). Let’s assume Tommy’s priority date has not yet reached the cut-off date in China yet, as listed on the most recent Department of State Visa Bulletin, but the cut-off date for Korea is “Current” for the EB-2 category. Based on the cross chargeability rule, Tommy and his wife can each file an I-485 Application for Permanent Resident Status, concurrently with the I-140 for EB-2 (NIW), because Tommy’s visa number can be charged to Korea. Without cross chargeability, Tommy would be able to file only the I-140 under the EB-2 category, and he would have to wait until his priority date listed on his I-140 approval notice is earlier than the cut-off date for China on the Department of State Visa Bulletin before he could file his I-485 Application.

Let’s change the example: same facts as above, except that Tommy and his wife are both born in China and their daughter is born in Korea. Tommy and his wife cannot file their I-485 Application until their priority date is earlier than the cut-off date for China under the EB-2 category, because their visa number cannot be charged to Korea. Parents cannot use cross chargeability to benefit from their children’s country of birth.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past fifteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

Silicon Valley • New York • Los Angeles • Chicago • Houston • Austin

Tel: 1-800-230-7040, 713-771-8433