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The Child Status Protection Act

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) of 2002 became effective on August 6, 2002.  The CSPA was enacted to preserve child status for certain beneficiaries who would otherwise “age out” (turn 21 years old before they could be issued a visa) due to administrative delays in visa processing.  To be CSPA qualified you must meet two criteria:

  • Your “CSPA age” must be under 21 years old.
  • You must take action to enact CSPA within one year of your visa becoming available.

In addition, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines a child as a person who is both unmarried and under 21 years old.  If you marry, you will lose “child” status. A subsequent divorce that occurs after your 21st birthday and after the visa becomes available will not restore “child” status because you were married at the time of visa availability.

Your CSPA age is the result of subtracting the number of days that the immigrant visa petition was pending with USCIS (from date of receipt to date of approval, including any period of administrative review) from the actual age of the applicant on the date that the visa became available.

Your age on visa availability date – (date petition was approved – date petition was received by USCIS) = CSPA age

If you think that your children may be eligible for CSPA please contact us via our Immigrant Visa Inquiry Form as soon as possible.  Please attach the birth certificate(s) for your child or children in your inquiry.

Please note that in some cases, such as employment preferences cases based on the filing of a labor certification, the priority date is not the same as the petition filing date.  The petition filing and petition approval dates are the only relevant dates.  Time waiting for a labor certification to be approved or for a priority date to become current is not taken into account.

We are unable to calculate your CSPA age until the priority date of your case is current and the case is in our office.  Once this happens, if you believe you qualify for CSPA protection, please contact us and attach a scanned copy of your birth certificate at least three days before your interview appointment. Because of high volume, we are unable to determine a CSPA request at the time of your interview.

No CSPA determination will be made without a formal application (including fee).  All applicants are required to provide the following:

  • The DS-260 confirmation page (If the applicants cannot complete their DS-260, our office will provide further assistance after their CSPA determination);
  • A valid passport, and birth certificate (original and copy)
  • Evidence of the current marital status of the child and the principal applicant, such as marriage certificate, death certificate, or divorce decree;
  • Pay the non-refundable visa application processing fee of $325 (if not already paid through NVC).

Note: The CSPA does not apply to K1 fiancé(e) visas and applications filed under the Amerasian Homecoming Act.  In family and employment-based preference, Diversity Visa (DV), and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) cases the alien must seek to acquire Lawful Permanent Resident status within one year of visa availability.  The one year requirement does not apply in Immediate Relative (IR) or Immediate Beneficiary (IB) cases.  The one year requirement generally means that the applicant must have submitted the completed DS-260 within one year of a visa becoming available.

Please visit the USCIS webpage for more information on the Child Status Protection Act.