How Does The Child Status Protection Act Help Me?

Parents who want to help their child become a U.S. citizen are encouraged to fill out and submit paperwork on the child’s behalf as soon as possible. But a “child” is only considered as such if they are under 21 years of age and are not married. What happens if they turn 21 before their application is approved? Fortunately, the Child Status Protection Act was created to help applicants facing this predicament. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was introduced in 2002 as a way to protect children who were waiting for their green card. Because green card applications can take a long time to process, some children were “aging out”, or turning 21 years old before their application review was finished. Prior to the Act, kids who turned 21 could no longer be considered a child. Their applications were put back in review for an even lengthier wait, or they were thrown out, forcing the individual to start the process all over again.

Qualifications and Eligibility under the CSPA

CSPA preserves the child status, even if the child has turned 21, so their application can continue to be considered. Those who qualify under CSPA include:

  • Children whose parent or guardian is a U.S. citizen and filed a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) on their behalf. The child’s age suspends on the day the form is filed.
  • Children whose parent or guardian is a permanent resident and filed a Form I-130 before they naturalized. The child’s age suspends on the day the parent or guardian naturalizes.

Those who are protected under CSPA include:

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

The incredible backlog of applications at USCIS means you may need to consider a “Plan B” in case your child turns 21 while waiting for their citizenship paperwork to be processed. It’s a good idea to talk to an immigration attorney about your next steps. The attorneys at Udall Shumway have helped many people in your situation. We can discuss possible outcomes and go over what forms you might want to consider to keep your child’s application active.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Does The Child Status Protection Act Help Me, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.