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USCIS Changes Green Card “Age Out” Policy

close up of a Green Card and visa card stacked on a desk

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a change to the “age out” policy for immigrants applying for a green card. Current provisions have caused difficulty for families and individuals who were no longer eligible for immigrant visas due to their age. However, this new policy aims to protect certain individuals from losing eligibility for their visa. In this blog, we will discuss this new policy, explain the CSPA, and how an attorney can help families obtain a visa for their child.

An Overview of The Child Status Protection Act

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted in 2002 to help protect certain individuals from “aging out” of their eligibility for immigrant visas. Aging out occurs because the length of time it takes to approve an immigrant visa application often exceeds the child's 21st birthday. Under the previous policy, once a child reached age 21, they were no longer considered a “child” and their eligibility for an immigrant visa would be lost. This caused many families to be separated or have to restart the visa application process, which is both time-consuming and costly.

Recent Changes

Effective February 14, 2023, these changes extend greater protections for certain children who were at risk aging out. Under the new regulations, individuals applying for a Green Card who have reached age 21 may still be eligible for an adjustment of status:

  • If their parent is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident,
  • If they concurrently applied for adjustment of status,
  • AND were under the age of 21 when the application was submitted.

Additionally, USCIS clarified that qualifying applicants can receive protection under CSPA even after turning 21 through a process called “tolling,” which calculates a “CSPA age” by subtracting the length of time an application was pending from an applicant’s age. These modifications provide significant relief to many individuals who are navigating the often complicated and lengthy Green Card process.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

While these new policies are beneficial for many noncitizens, it may be confusing to understand whether you or a loved one meets the eligibility requirements. Our Board-Certified* immigration specialists at Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A. can help you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. Call (800) 708-4399 to request a case evaluation today.


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