CROSS CHARGEABILITY: JUMPING IN LINE
Yes, it is possible. Sometimes.
If you were born in India, Mexico or the People’s Republic of China and want to file for a green card based on employment, you are no doubt familiar with the lengthy backlogs. Green cards are given out via a per country quota, and therefore countries with high populations or historically high levels of demand will use up their numbers quickly. People filing behind them must wait until a new batch of numbers becomes available, and if even those are used up, they must wait until the next year. Thus, the backlog is born.
You are charged to the country you were born in. So if you were born in India, you must wait for Indian visa numbers to become available. But there are exceptions!
You can jump ahead in line if your spouse is a national of a country that does not have such a backlog. If you are eligible, you must follow the proper procedures to claim this benefit. Our law firm has successfully represented clients in cross chargeability applications.
What Must You Do?
The requirements are rather simple. But complications may arise:
- Your spouse must be requesting a green card as a derivative along with your application
It is not enough to simply be married to a person who has a shorter wait. Your spouse must file for adjustment of status as a derivative of your green card application in order to take advantage of cross chargeability.
- You must explain to USCIS that you wish to use cross-chargeability
A clear explanation of cross-chargeability eligibility and application must be made to USCIS. Without a clear explanation of your intent to use cross-chargeability and the legal reasons supporting it, your request may be needlessly delayed. Moreover, frequently marriage documents must qualify as valid documents, as well as birth certificates proving that the spouse was born in the non-backlogged country. The requirements for birth certificates and other vital documents are very particular, and things such as delayed registration of the birth certificate, lack of both parental names, or sometimes merely difficulty in obtaining these documents can all affect approvability of your cross-chargeability request. Other times, USCIS distinguishes between religious or traditional marriages and civil marriages.
Please contact us to determine whether there are any issues if you are married to a national from a country that has a more favorable wait time.