Cross Chargeability Rule in Green Card

What is Cross chargeability?

The availability of visa numbers for applicants born in particular countries is subject to lengthy waiting periods. An applicant is charged against the quota for the country of his or her birth under the fundamental principle of chargeability. It should be noted that the nation of chargeability is unaffected by the citizenship country.

Cross-chargeability is used when there is a current or available visa number for one spouse’s country of chargeability but a significant backlog in the preferred quota category for the other spouse’s country of chargeability. According to INA 202(b)(2), both the principal applicant and the other derivative spouse are permitted to cross-charge to the country of the principal. Cross-chargeability should be used wherever possible to maintain family unity and allow family members to immigrate together.


To benefit from cross-chargeability, both applicants must be qualified to adjust their status. The derivative may therefore modify status with the principal or at any point thereafter by utilizing the principal’s country of chargeability. Both applicants are regarded as principal applicants when a principal uses the country of chargeability of his or her derivative spouse: one for the purpose of granting immigrant status and the other for the purpose of granting a more favorable chargeability. Even if they weren’t born in either parent’s country, derived minor children of the applicant(s) may cross-charge to either parent’s country of birth as needed. The country of birth of the minor children, however, may never be used by the parents to determine cross-chargeability.