The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) amended the Immigration Nationality Act (INA) by changing who qualifies as a child for purposes of an immigrant. This permits certain beneficiaries to retain classification as a “child,” even if he or she has reached the age of 21, but have remained unmarried.
A “child” is defined as an individual who is unmarried and under the age of 21. Before CSPA took effect on August 6, 2002, a beneficiary who turned 21 at any time prior to receiving permanent residence could not be considered a child for immigration purposes. This situation is described as “aging out.” Congress recognized that many beneficiaries were aging out because of large backlogs and long processing times for visa petitions. CSPA is designed to protect a beneficiary’s immigration classification as a child when he or she ages out due to excessive processing times. CSPA can protect “child” status for family-based immigrants, employment-based immigrants, and some humanitarian program immigrants (refugees, asylees, VAWA).
The CSPA’s method of calculating a person’s age varies depending on the type of immigration benefit that is sought. The CSPA applies to:
There are certain Acts that CSPA do not apply to according to USCIS, for example, the CSPA does not family to family unity or special immigrant juvenile status.
How to Qualify for CSPA
|Immediate Relative||Preference Classification for Permanent Residence or Derivative|
Note: Individuals may be eligible to apply for permanent residence under CSPA after 1 year of a visa becoming available if all of the following are true:
Refugee and Asylee Protections
CSPA provides protections for refugee and asylee children who aged out on or after August 6, 2002. The child must remain unmarried to benefit from CSPA protection.
The child’s age is determined based on the time the parent’s Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, or Form I-590, Registration for Classification as a Refugee, was filed. After August 6, 2002, as long as the child was unmarried and under 21 at the time either of these forms was filed, and the child was listed on the Form I-589 or I-590, the child will remain a “child” regardless of age and can continue adjustment of status or consular processing on that basis.
Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, and Section 209 Adjustment
For Forms I-730 or I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence and Adjust Status, (under Section 209) that were pending on or after August 6, 2002, the child’s age is determined by using the age on the date the principal filed Form I-589 or Form I-590, as long as the child was unmarried and under 21 at that time and remains unmarried.