Child Status Protection Act
The Child Status Protection Act of 2002 became effective on August 6, 2002. The new law changed the process for determining whether a child has "aged out" (i.e., turned 21 years old before visa issuance or status adjustment) for the purpose of visa issuance.
The intent of the CSPA is to preserve child status for certain beneficiaries who “aged out” before the issuance of their visas; in particular, those who “aged out” because of delays in visa processing. The CSPA applies to the following immigrant visa categories:
- Children of American citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) (IR-2 and F2A principal applicants).
- Derivatives in all family and employment-based preference categories (F1, F2, F3, F4, and E categories). The CSPA does not apply to V, K, or any other nonimmigrant visas.
CSPA can only be applied in cases where:
- The IV petition was approved on/after August 6, 2002; or
- The applicant aged out on/after August 6, 2002 (including the Patriot Act 45-day extension, if applicable); or
- The applicant aged out before August 6, 2002, but applied for a visa before aging out and was refused under section 221(g).
Please note that the CSPA is a very complicated law, and there are a number of criteria not addressed here that must be met for a beneficiary to be eligible for its protection. The Embassy will review every beneficiary to see if s/he qualifies for CSPA protection. If you have not heard from the Embassy about your eligibility for CSPA and your 21st birthday is within six months, please contact the Embassy as soon as possible.
Note: The Embassy will not be able to assist in aging-out situations when cases have priority dates that are not yet current.
In certain cases, a beneficiary may not be eligible for CSPA protection, but may benefit from the Patriot Act 2001, which can provide an additional 45 days of eligibility before the beneficiary ages out.
The USA Patriot Act of 2001
Under Section 424(2) of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, any alien who is the beneficiary of a petition filed on or before September 11, 2001, and whose 21st birthday occurs after September 30, 2001, shall be considered to be a child for an additional 45 days after turning 21. Thus, IV applicants who would otherwise lose status upon their 21st birthday, but who meet the conditions of Section 424 of the Patriot Act, may be issued visas up to 45 days after their 21st birthday.