Exploring Cross Chargeability in Employment-Based Green Card Filings

Posted on Sep 25, 2023 by Chris Prescott


Cross-chargeability is a concept that could prove to be a game-changer for those seeking permanent residence in the U.S. and who are experiencing lengthy delays caused by the backlog. In this article, we examine the intricacies of cross-chargeability and its impact on employment-based green card filings. 

Understanding Employment-Based Green Card Filings 

The employment-based green card application process involves several preference categories, each with its own set of requirements and limitations. These categories are subject to annual quotas, and applicants from countries with high demand often face lengthy waiting periods due to oversubscription. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) dictates that no more than 7% of green cards can be issued to individuals from a single country in a given fiscal year. This has led to backlogs for nationals of countries with high demand, particularly India and China. 

Cross-Chargeability: A Pathway Beyond Quotas 

Cross-chargeability offers a solution to the challenges posed by country-based quotas. This provision allows certain family-based and employment-based green card applicants to “charge” their green card application to a country other than their country of birth or nationality. This can be a pivotal advantage, as it allows applicants to take advantage of visa availability in countries with shorter waiting times. 

Eligibility for Cross-Chargeability 

Marriage to a Spouse from a Different Country: If the primary applicant is married to someone born in a country with a shorter queue for green card processing, they can “cross-charge” their application to their spouse’s country. 

For example, an Indian born Foreign national marrying someone born in the UK can use their spouse’s country of birth and apply for a green card under the all other country category.   

Benefits and Impact 

Cross-chargeability presents a range of advantages for employment-based green card applicants: 

  • Reduced Waiting Times: By leveraging cross-chargeability, applicants can potentially skip ahead in the queue and benefit from shorter waiting times associated with countries with lesser demand. 
  • Mitigating Retrogression: Retrogression can lead to even longer waiting times. Cross-chargeability can help applicants escape the effects of retrogression.  At the time of writing this article EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 categories are all facing retrogression, although the effects of this are more far reaching for foreign born Indian nationals, who have the longest wait times of all. 

Navigating the Process 

While cross-chargeability offers a promising path, it’s essential to navigate the process correctly: 

  • Documentation: Applicants must provide accurate documentation, including birth certificates, marriage certificates, and any other relevant documents, to establish eligibility for cross-chargeability. 
  • Legal Assistance: Given the complexity of immigration rules, seeking legal counsel is advisable to ensure compliance and increase the likelihood of a successful cross-chargeability request. 


By enabling applicants to “charge” their application to a more favorable country, cross-chargeability allows an applicant to obtain a green card significantly faster than if they were seeking on based on their own country of birth.  This concept only applies where  

If you have any questions regarding the above, please reach out to PLG Partner Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com.