What is CSPA?

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CSPA or Child Status Protection Act is a law in the US that covers the immigration procedures for people who want to become US Citizens.  This particular act was signed and implemented starting in August of 2002 with the main purpose of protecting the status of a child’s immigration application to the US.  Under US law, a child that is below 21 years of age may be petitioned by his/her parents to become a US immigrant.  In the past, a concern arises when the child being petitioned reaches 21 years of age in the middle of the immigration process or application. Before the CSPA was put in place, children who turned 21 before the immigration petition was granted was considered to have “aged out” and so the immigration petition will now be re-classified and this may take several years to process.  Through the CSPA, the status of the child is literally protected as long as the application is submitted while the child is still 20 years of age.  Overall, the main objective of CSPA to prevent the undue separation of US immigrant parents and their children that falls below 21 years of age.

With CSPA put into law, the main basis for implementing immigration rules for children of US citizen or naturalized parents is their age at the time the petition is filed or submitted.  Even if the petition is submitted to US immigration authorities a week before a child turns 21, the child’s status and immigration benefits will be protected.  This is especially beneficial for US immigrants who wish to bring all their children to the US as long as they are below the 21 year limit.  Otherwise, if the dependent or unmarried child involved breaches the 21 year limit, the petition will be re-classified and the minimum wait for processing is at 6 years.  For many families who wish to be together in the US, they should make sure that all their petitions are filed before any child reaches 21 years of age in order to gain protection from CSPA.

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