Foreign State of Chargeability

What is the Foreign State of Chargeability?

In U.S. immigration law, a foreign state of chargeability is assigned to every individual. In short, it is a person’s country of birth. Knowing the foreign state of chargeability for every individual aids in determining the availability of visas which are issued every fiscal year.

What is my Foreign State of Chargeability?

In general, as noted above, a person’s foreign state of chargeability is their country of birth; however, the rule is not always so clear and there are some basic rules to keep in mind:

  • A spouse’s country of birth can be used as the individual’s country of chargeability where the individual is accompanying or following to join the spouse. This may be done to prevent the separation of the spouses;
  • A parent’s country of birth can be used as the child’s country of chargeability where the child is accompanying or following to join the parent. This may be done to prevent the separation of the child from the parent;
  • Someone who was born in the U.S., who did not receive U.S. citizenship through their birth or abandoned their U.S. citizenship, would be chargeable to their country of citizenship. If that person does not have citizenship in any country, they would be charged to their last country of residence;
  • Someone who was born in a country in which neither of the person’s parents was born, and in which neither parents had a residence at the time of the person’s birth, may be charged to the country of birth of either parent.

This information can be found in §202(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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