USCIS has recently announced updates to its guidelines on the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) age calculation. The update provides relief for certain children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who may have aged out of their eligibility for immigration benefits due to delays in processing their cases. The changes will apply to individuals seeking to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident under the family-sponsored or employment-based visa categories, as well as those seeking certain types of humanitarian relief such as asylum or special immigrant juvenile status.
Under the CSPA, a child is typically considered to be under 21 years old for immigration purposes. However, delays in processing immigration cases can cause children to “age out” and lose their eligibility for certain immigration benefits if they turn 21 before their case is resolved. The CSPA provides relief for these children by “freezing” their age at a younger point in time, allowing them to remain eligible for certain immigration benefits even if they have turned 21.
USCIS will now use the age of the individual on the date that a visa becomes available to them, rather than the age of the individual on the date that the visa petition was filed.
The updated guidelines will provide more clarity and consistency in the application of the law, and ensure that eligible children are not unfairly penalized for delays in the immigration process. In addition, USCIS will consider certain types of immigration petitions and applications to be “pending” for purposes of CSPA age calculations. Specifically, USCIS will consider a petition or application to be pending if it was filed before the child turned 21, was subsequently approved, and the child did not age out before a visa became available to them.
It is important to note that the USCIS updates to the CSPA age calculation guidelines will not change the eligibility requirements for immigration benefits, nor will it guarantee that all individuals who previously aged out of their eligibility for immigration benefits will now be eligible. However, it will provide greater clarity and consistency in the application of the law, and ensure that eligible children are not unfairly penalized for delays in the immigration process.