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United States Citizenship and Immigration Service changes CSPA policy

By September 11, 2023Family Immigration
Day on a calendar circled

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS changed its policy to apply Dates for Filing as published by USCIS to lock a child’s age for the Child Status Protection Act, “CSPA” purposes, rather than the Final Action Date. We have previously discussed CSPA here.

Applicants for a green card must be aware of two charts when determining when to file the adjustment of status application or form I-485 with USCIS. The first chart is the Date for Filing Chart which is the date designated by the Department of State as the first date a green card application can be filed to commence processing. The second chart known as the Final Action Date chart is the chart that governs when a green card is authorized for issuance. Therefore, a green card may be permitted to be filed by the Date for Filing Chart for processing, but the green card will not be issued until the priority date on the initial green card petition becomes current. You can view our discussion on priority dates and the visa bulletin here.

However, it is important to note that USCIS does not always follow the Date for Filing Chart and may not permit the early filing of the I-485 under the Date for Filing Chart and will require filing when the priority date is current with the Final Action Date chart. You can see the USCIS adjustment of status filing charts here. Only if USCIS specifies that the visa bulletin Date for Filing Chart can be used, will the early filing be permitted.

With respect to the change in policy, previously USCIS would only lock a child’s age when the petition was approved and when the priority date was current based on the Final Action Date chart. Therefore, in cases where USCIS had permitted early filing of the I-485 based on the Date for Filing chart, if the child’s CSPA reduced age turned 21 after filing of the I-485 application, the child would then have aged out from the preferred family category based on the child being more than 21 years of age or lost eligibility to apply for a green card as a derivative beneficiary of his parent’s primary green card application. Fortunately, under the new policy, when USCIS allows for filing under the Date for Filing Chart and the child is under 21 years of age when the I-485 application is filed under the Date for Filing chart, the child’s age will lock at the CSPA reduced age even if  the child actually turns 21 while the application is pending.

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