More immigrants are already eligible for a green card thanks to this new USCIS change
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated the age calculation for certain applicants for adjustment of status under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).
With this new immigration law, thousands of children and young adults of all nationalities could benefit, who will come of age in the middle of their immigration process.
But, it not only benefits the children but also those derived from other family petitions.
To request that a child obtain a green card, either through a family-based or employment-based visa petition, the child must be a minor. The problem is that very often the children are minors at the time of the application to USCIS but they can reach adulthood when Immigration adjudicates that application and they are eligible for adjustment of status.
The general rule establishes that if a young person reaches 21 years of age and exceeds the age of majority during the immigration process, she is no longer eligible to immigrate with her parents or relatives.
This new immigration regulation is so that certain minor children and adolescents are protected and do not lose their eligibility to obtain a green card.
Therefore, Congress enacted the CSPA in 2022 to protect certain non-citizen children from losing eligibility to obtain lawful permanent resident status based on an approved visa petition.
Now, this law provides a new method for calculating a child’s age, taking into account when an immigrant visa number “becomes available.”
“The CSPA law gives credit to children, and to those who are not so much, for the time that the application was pending with USCIS,” explains immigration attorney Elina Magaly Santana, with her own law firm in Miami and a board member of the chapter. South Florida American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
It is about “protection for the delay. It is not a credit for being on the waiting list ”, insists the specialist from the law firm Santana Rodríguez Law.
HOW IS THE AGE CALCULATED FOR THE GREEN CARD?
USCIS reports in its statement that the new policy guidance is “to update when an immigrant visa ‘is available’ to calculate the age of a non-citizen child in certain situations under the CSPA Act.”
When the visa is available, “this is calculated from the date the application is filed to the date the petition is approved. If a child was 19 years old, USCIS delays five years, and now the child is 24. With the new calculation, USCIS subtracts the five years of delay from the current age”, clarifies immigration attorney Santana.
To qualify as a minor when they have already reached the age of majority, USCIS applies what is called the CSPA Age. “If you are 25 years old when the visa is already available, and USCIS delayed five years, they give you five years of credit, and you stay as if you had 20 years under the law. This is the CSPA age (20 years), which is different from the biological age (25 years)”, adds Santana.