Implications of USCIS’s Updated CSPA Guidance to Extend Age-Out Protections for Adjustment Applicants
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had recently issued revised guidance on the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) age calculation, resolving an inconsistency in the previous guidance that left certain adjustment applicants without guaranteed CSPA protection. The CSPA aims to protect certain noncitizens from losing eligibility as a child for immigrant visa and adjustment of status purposes due to aging during the immigration process.
The updated guidance, effective February 14, 2023, aligns visa availability for CSPA age calculations with that for accepting and processing AOS applications. When USCIS announces that applicants may use the Dates for Filing chart for filing AOS applications, it will also use that chart for calculating the applicant’s CSPA age, and vice versa with the Final Action Dates chart.
Previously, USCIS only considered a visa available for CSPA age calculation based on the Final Action Dates chart, creating a discrepancy for adjustment of status (AOS) applicants filing based on the Dates for Filing chart. As a result, applicants could have a visa “immediately available” for filing purposes but not for CSPA age calculation.
This updated guidance generally expands the number of children who can benefit from CSPA protection. However, there remains some uncertainty regarding its implementation. It is unclear how USCIS will view individuals who had been current for more than one year under the Dates for Filing chart but not under the Final Action Date chart. USCIS may not grant CSPA protection in such cases, although it is hoped that they will exercise discretion given the policy change.
Noncitizens whose applications were denied under the prior policy can file a motion to reopen their previously denied AOS using Form I-290B. USCIS may exercise discretion to excuse untimely filing for reasonable delays and factors beyond their control.
The new CSPA guidance is a welcome expansion of the grounds under which a child can benefit from the CSPA and will potentially allow more families to remain together in the United States as the CSPA intended.