USCIS Updates Child Status Protection Act Policy

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has updated the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) policy to allow children and young adults with a dependent visa to lock in their age earlier in the green card application process.

Congress enacted the CSPA in 2002 to protect certain noncitizen children from losing eligibility to obtain lawful permanent resident status based on an approved visa petition by providing a method to calculate the child’s age that considers when an immigrant visa number “becomes available.” The availability date is determined with the State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin.

What’s Changed?

The Visa Bulletin has two charts – the Dates for Filing and Final Action Date charts.

  • Under the previous guidance, USCIS calculated a dependent child’s age based on the “final action date” of the visa bulletin.
  • Under this policy change, the age calculations will be based on when a green card applicant is allowed to submit their application, the Dates for Filing.

The policy change is effective immediately and applies to pending applications. 

Under this new guidance, if these noncitizens are eligible to adjust status because of the change in policy and they have filed for adjustment of status, they will also be eligible to apply for employment and travel authorization based on their pending adjustment of status application, and they generally will not lose previously issued employment or travel authorization.

Noncitizens may file a motion to reopen their previously denied adjustment of status application with USCIS using Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. Noncitizens must generally file motions to reopen within 30 days of the decision.

Erickson Insights

This Policy Manual update will not prevent all children from aging out before an immigrant visa is available, nor will it prevent children from losing nonimmigrant status derived from their parents upon reaching the age of 21. Still, this policy update adds protections for the “documented dreamers” who are at risk of aging out due to the green card backlog.

Erickson Immigration Group will continue monitoring developments and sharing updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.