Growing Concern Over H-4 Dependent Children

Many Indian and Chinese H-4 dependent children are at risk of “aging out” of dependent status upon turning 21 due to the consistent backlog for employment-based green cards. As parents are often able to remain indefinitely in the U.S. by virtue of H-1B and H-4 (spousal) extensions, immigrant families may face separation in the pursuit of permanent residency. H-4 dependent children may, however, be able to prolong their stay through the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which allows some H-4 dependents to briefly remain classified as “children” after turning 21 by adjusting their “USCIS age” based on the amount of time their green card applications have been pending. Alternatively, H-4 dependent children may extend their stay in the US by applying to change to F-1 student status while attending college.