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The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) explains who can be considered a “child” for the purpose of visa issuance by the Department of State and for purposes of adjustment of status of aliens by USCIS.

The CSPA provides that if a U.S. Citizen submits Form I-130 on behalf of a child before he or she turns 21, the child will continue to be considered a child for immigration purposes even if USCIS does not act on the petition before the child turns 21. Children of lawful permanent residents also benefit if a Form I-130 is submitted on behalf of their children.

On April 30, 2008, USCIS issued new guidance (Donald Neufeld Memo) that allows aliens who had approved immigrant visa petitions prior to the enactment of the CSPA, but had not yet applied for permanent residence (either an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa) on the date of enactment to benefit from the CSPA. The new guidance includes many aliens who, subsequent to the enactment of the CSPA, never filed an application for permanent residence and aliens who filed an application for permanent residence but such application was denied solely based on the applicant’s age.

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