Cross-Chargeability is the term used for when an applicant charges their visa to the country of birth of a spouse or a parent – instead of their own country.

According to the USCIS, for practical reasons, cross-chargeability is used where the preference quota category is backlogged for one spouse’s country of chargeability but is current for the other spouse’s country of chargeability.

The ability to cross-charge a visa applies:

  • When the principal applicant cross-charges to the country of the “derivative” spouse. The derivative spouse may also cross-charge the country of the principal spouse.
  • “Derivative children may cross-charge to either parent’s country as necessary.” Be careful though. Parents CANNOT cross-charge to a child’s country.

The aim of cross-charging is to preserve the family unit and permit “family members to immigrate together.”

Eligibility to use cross-charging

To use cross-charging, both applicants (the two spouses or a child and parent) must be eligible to adjust their status. “A derivative using the principal’s country of chargeability may adjust status with the principal or at any time thereafter.”

“When a principal uses the derivative spouse’s country of chargeability, both applicants are considered principal applicants: one for the purpose of conferring immigrant status and the other for the purpose of conferring a more favorable chargeability.” This means, the USCIS officer “should approve both adjustment applications at the same time.

A few examples of when cross-chargeability is acceptable

• If the visa application is available for the principal applicant, but not available for the derivative spouse, the derivate spouse’s visa can use/be charged to the principal applicant’s country of chargeability.

• If the visa application is not available for the principal applicant but is available for the derivative spouse, then the principal applicant’s visa can be charged to the derivative spouse’s country of chargeability.

• If the visa is available for the principal applicant and the derivative spouse but is not available for the child, then the derivative child’s visa can be charged to either parent’s country of chargeability.

Processing requests for cross-chargeability

“If a principal applicant is filing along with a derivative spouse or child and a visa appears unavailable at first glance, the officer should check the A-files for possible cross-chargeability eligibility.”

“Often, an applicant will affirmatively request use of cross-chargeability when filing the application. In all cases where cross-chargeability provisions apply, the files should be forwarded to the adjudicating officer with a notation that indicates possible cross-chargeability. The files should be kept together in a family pack.”

To learn if chargeability can improve your eligibility and place you in line for a green card, call Legal Group at 1 (800) 808-4013 or use our contact form to speak with us.

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