Written by attorney Carl Michael Shusterman

CSPA - Child Status Protection Act (Part 1)

#cspa, #CspaFormula, #ChildStatusProtectionAct

How to immigrate to the US with your spouse and children using CSPA by former INS Attorney Carl Shusterman (1976-82). You can schedule a legal consultation (by Zoom, telephone or in person) at (213) 623-4592

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted in order to keep immigrant families intact despite family-based and employment-based waiting times which can range up to 23 years or more.

Prior to CSPA, once a child turned 21 years of age, he or she “aged-out” and was no longer able to immigrate (or adjust status) along with his or her parents. CSPA “freezes the age” of immediate relative children when their petitioning U.S. citizen parent submits a visa petition on their behalf; when a petitioning permanent resident parent naturalizes; or when a married son or daughter who has been petitioned by a U.S. citizen parent becomes divorced or widowed.

CSPA also creates a mathematical formula which allows the amount of time that a visa petition was pending to be subtracted from a child’s age.

What happens if a child “ages-out” despite the mathematical formula?

Again, the Child Status Protection Act provides relief for “aged-out” cchildren in the form of the “automatic conversion” clause. However, on June 9, 2014, the Supreme Court deferred to the restrictive definition of this clause which was promulgated by the BIA.

CSPA also contains an “opt-out” clause which permits unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizen to choose between the family-based 1st and 2B preference categories depending on which category allows them to reunite with their parents faster.

CSPA is applicable not only to persons who were sponsored for lawful permanent residence after the law took effect, but to many people who were sponsored for green cards prior to August 6, 2002. Therefore, it applies many thousands of persons.

For more information, please see our CSPA page at

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