I was born in Country A, but I am a citizen of Country B. For purposes of my green card process, to which country am I chargeable?
Chargeability can be a very important term for those seeking permanent residence in the United States. It determines to which country you are deemed to belong for purposes of acquiring a green card. Some countries have longer visa wait times than other countries due to the demand for U.S. immigrant visas in those countries. For example, foreign physicians who are chargeable to India and China may face waiting times of several years if they are pursuing the most common paths to permanent residence.
The answer to the above question is that Country A will likely be the country of chargeability, as the foreign citizen is generally charged to their country of birth. There are, however, the following few exceptions:
1. If necessary to prevent the separation of parent and child, an immigrant child may be charged to the same country to which the immigrant parent is chargeable if the child is accompanying or following to join the parent.
2. If necessary to prevent the separation of husband and wife, an immigrant spouse may be charged to the same country to which his or her spouse is chargeable if accompanying or following to join his or her spouse.
3. An immigrant who was born in the United States shall be charged to the country of which the immigrant is a citizen or subject OR charged to the country of last residence if the immigrant is not a citizen or subject of any country. This is a rare exception that would likely come into effect only if the immigrant did not derive US citizenship by birth or abandoned US citizenship.
4. An immigrant who was born in a country in which neither of his or her parents were born, and in which neither parent had a residence at the time of the immigrant’s birth, may be charged to the country of birth of either parent.
If an immigrant were a citizen of India or China, but was born in a different country with no current visa backlog, that immigrant would likely be chargeable to the country of birth, thus eliminating any visa backlog issues.
Alternatively, if an immigrant were born in India or China, but was a citizen of a different country, that immigrant would likely be chargeable to India or China. In that case, the immigrant might wish to review whether he or she could meet one of the four exceptions above.
For your reference, the rules of chargeability, which we have discussed above, are articulated in Section 202(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 22 CFR 42.12 (a provision of the Code of Federal Regulations), and 9 FAM 42.12 (a provision of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual).
Last Edit: Jan 19, 2014 12:31:54 GMT -6 by adamcohen