Law Offices of Cindy Ramjattan Paul - Immigration lawyer, Nutley, NJ

Child Status Protection Act

The Child Status Protection Act ("CSPA") provides relief to children [individuals who are unmarried and under the age of 21] who "age-out" as a result of delays by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") in processing visa petitions and asylum and refugee applications. A child "ages-out" when s/he turns 21 and loses the preferential immigration treatment provided to children.

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. However, Congress soon recognized that many beneficiaries were aging out because of large backlogs and processing times for visa petitions and designed CSPA to protect individuals in those situations. CSPA can protect "child" status for family-based immigrants, employment-based immigrants, and some humanitarian programs such as for refugees, asylees, and VAWA applicants.

The primary benefit of the CSPA is an age-preservation formula for calculating the age of a beneficiary of a preference visa petition. This formula allows certain beneficiaries to preserve their age as under 21 even if, chronologically, they are over 21. This way, a child can remain a beneficiary on a pending visa petition despite having aged-out.

In order to be eligible for CSPA:

  • A person must be the beneficiary of a pending or approved visa petition on or after August 6, 2002.
  • The beneficiary must not have had a final decision on an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa before August 6, 2002.
  • The individual must "seek to acquire" permanent residence within 1 year of a visa becoming available. The date of visa availability is the first day of the first month a visa in the appropriate category was listed as available in the Department of State’s visa bulletin or the date the visa petition was approved, whichever was later.

NOTE: "Seek to acquire" means having a USCIS Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

filed on behalf of the child; the filing of an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
; or submit an Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration from the Department of State

For more information, please visit the USCIS website at:

If you have further inquiries, please feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation with our highly experienced immigration attorney.