In recent years, due to several circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have faced serious backlogs processing cases for legal immigration and asylum. To remedy these backlogs, the U.S. government has made updates to its policy manual regarding certain immigration programs. In the U.S. noncitizen children may obtain lawful permanent resident status under their parents’ family-sponsored or employment-based visa through an approved petition. However, they must meet the immigration definition of a child. Essentially, this means they must be unmarried and under the age of 21. Unfortunately, many noncitizen children that apply for asylum in the U.S. face ineligibility as they age out as a result of severe backlogs. To alleviate this issue, Congress has made necessary updates to the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) age calculation. On February 14, 2023, the CSPA changed its policy manual to update when an immigrant visa “becomes available” to calculate the age for noncitizens that are seeking lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. Please continue reading to learn more about the updates made to the CSPA age calculation and how a qualified Middlesex County, New Jersey Asylum Lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of this legal situation.
What recent updates have been made to the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)?
After recognizing these severe backlogs, Congress decided to enact the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). The CSPA provides a method for calculating nonimmigrants’ age to see if they meet the definition of a child (a person who is unmarried and under 21 years old). It allows nonimmigrant children who turn 21 years old after an asylum application is filed to be classified as children and remain eligible until their case is settled. Essentially, the CSPA protects nonimmigrant children from aging out and becoming ineligible after their 21st birthday to receive certain immigrant visas and adjustment statuses. It is pertinent to note that the definition of a child has not been changed with this policy update. Instead, this update now determines when a visa number becomes available. USCIS through their updated policy guidelines will use the Dates for Filing chart to calculate noncitizen ages for CSPA purposes. Furthermore, these updated policy guidelines are being put into effect immediately. The changes will apply to adjustment status applications that were adjudicated on or after February 2023.
USCIS has been working hard to alleviate the severe and growing backlogs they are facing by making necessary updates to its policy manual guidelines. It is imperative to remain up-to-date with all pertinent immigration updates and changes that could affect your visa application or status. If you are interested in finding out how this new update could impact your visa application, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our trusted and experienced team members. Our firm is committed to helping our clients understand how the CSPA age calculation updates affect their adjustment status applications.