A child is defined as an individual who is unmarried and under the age of 21 under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) further defines who is a “child” for purposes of immigration and provides protections for children in danger of “aging out” (turning 21 and no longer eligible to immigrate with their parents’ petition, for instance). Prior to the CSPA, if a child turned 21 he/she could no longer be considered a child for immigration purposes. In many cases, applications were filed properly and timely, but due to USCIS’ large backlog and long processing times, many children were left behind after they turned 21.
CSPA protections may be available in your case if you have a child that turned 21 or is nearing the age of 21. To be eligible you must:
In some situations, it may be more beneficial to opt-out of CSPA protections as there may be shorter line elsewhere. For example, it may be faster for a lawful permanent resident parent to naturalize and change the designation for their child’s petition to that of a child of a U.S. citizen. Sometimes the opposite is true. Our office has extensive experience in dealing with CSPA issues, the National Visa Center, and USCIS. Contact our experienced attorneys to help you understand your family’s options and choose the best route to keep your family together.