Under U.S. immigration law, an unmarried child under the age of 21 can immigrate alongside their parents. This pertains to several immigration categories, such as family-based, employment-based, immediate relatives, victims of domestic violence, diversity immigrants, political asylees, and refugees.
Some immigration categories experience extended waiting periods. Even if a child initially qualifies as a “Child” at the time of the petition, they may age out (turn 21) by the time a green card becomes available. Yet, thanks to the CSPA (elaborated below), if the child’s adjusted age remains under 21 and they meet other conditions like remaining unmarried, they might still be eligible to immigrate with their parents.
CSPA Age Calculator
Use the following tool to calculate your CSPA adjusted age. Please provide:
- Your date of birth.
- Your Priority Date (the date when your I-130/140/PERM was filed, as indicated on the I-797 receipt notice).
- The approval date for I-130/140, as found on the I-797 approval notice.
- The date when an immigration visa / green card becomes available for you. If your category is labeled as current “C” in August on the Visa Bulletin (or if your Priority Date precedes the date listed on the Bulletin), then an immigration visa “becomes available” for you on August 1. Starting from February 2023, the “Dates for Filing” chart can be used for CSPA calculations unless the USCIS says otherwise (this will be discussed later).
CSPA Age Calculator
How is the CSPA Age Determined?
Addressing the problem of children aging out, Congress enacted the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) in 2002, receiving President Bush’s signature. Consider the following scenarios:
- If a U.S. citizen petitions for their child’s green card, the child’s age is “frozen” immediately. For example, John, after naturalizing as a U.S. citizen, petitions for his son Michael, born abroad and currently 20, to become a U.S. legal permanent resident. Michael’s age is instantly “frozen” for immigration purposes, ensuring he won’t “age out,” regardless of the processing duration by the USCIS or NVC. The same rule applies if a green card holder parent files a petition for their child, but becomes a naturalized citizen during the process. The child’s age “freezes” on the parent’s naturalization date.
- In employment-based and family-based categories, the “CSPA adjusted age” is determined by deducting the I-130/140/PERM’s processing time from the child’s biological age when a visa number is available.
Following the new policy USCIS introduced in February 2023, the date when “an immigration visa becomes available” refers to the Dates for Filing chart. Thus, if your category is “current” on the Visa Bulletin of August (or your Priority Date is earlier than the date listed in the Bulletin), and the USCIS says that the Dates for Filing chart can be applied that month, then:
- If you’re in the U.S., you can file I-485 post August 1 to adjust your status to obtain a green card.
- If outside the U.S., the NVC will consult the chart to inform you to ready and forward the necessary documents to the consulate.
For both instances, August 1 is deemed the date when an “immigration visa becomes available.” Remember: If the USCIS decides that your category must use the Final Action Dates chart (to file I-485), then the Dates for Filing chart isn’t applicable for CSPA calculations either.
For the majority of employment and family-based immigrants with a child pursuing a green card, a prolonged I-130/I-140/PERM processing time might be advantageous. Such extended processing days are deducted when computing the CSPA age. E.g., if a child is 21 years and 6 months when a visa is available and the I-130/I-140/PERM took 1 year to process, the CSPA adjusted age is 20 years and 6 months, still categorizing them as a “Child.”
What do the Two Charts Represent?
The U.S. Department of State issues the Visa Bulletin, which has two charts:
- Final Action Dates (sometimes referred to as “Chart A”): This chart signifies when your green card or immigrant visa may be sanctioned. If your category becomes current for that month (or if your Priority Date is earlier than the date in the chart), the USCIS or consulate can start approving your green card or visa. However, the approval process and the actual green card issuance require time, and approval doesn’t imply an instant delivery.
- Dates for Filing (or “Chart B”): This showcases when you can submit the I-485 to adjust status, if applicable. The Department of State publishes this chart intending to accelerate the application process. However, USCIS decides if they can accommodate more applications based on their current backlog. Once the Visa Bulletin is released, USCIS generally declares within a few days if the Dates for Filing chart can be used that month for either family or employment-based filings. If you’re in the U.S. adjusting your status and the USCIS states your category can use the Dates for Filing chart that month, then you can submit your I-485. Since February 2023, the Dates for Filing chart has also been used for CSPA purposes.