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USCIS Policy Manual Update: Extraordinary Circumstances in Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) Cases

The USCIS Policy Manual is being revised to provide clarity on the application of the extraordinary circumstances exception to the “sought to acquire” requirement under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), considering a policy change on Feb. 14, 2023. This update:

  • Considers the Feb. 14 policy change as an extraordinary circumstance allowing for the exception to the sought to acquire requirement.
  • Clarifies that failure to meet the sought to acquire requirement may be excused if an applicant didn’t apply for status adjustment due to inability to calculate CSPA age under the previous policy or if their CSPA age would have been over 21, but now qualifies for age-out protection under the new policy.
  • Specifies that applicants are deemed to have met the sought to acquire requirement if their status adjustment application was pending on Feb. 14 and they applied within 1 year of a visa becoming available based on the Final Action Dates chart under the policy in effect when they applied.

CSPA safeguards certain beneficiaries from losing eligibility for immigrant visas and status adjustment due to aging during immigration proceedings. Noncitizens seeking CSPA benefits must aim to attain lawful permanent resident status within a year of visa availability. On Feb. 14, USCIS issued policy guidance altering the criteria for determining when an immigrant visa becomes available for CSPA age calculation.

Before Feb. 14, 2023, some noncitizens might not have applied for status adjustment due to unavailability of a visa for CSPA age calculation or CSPA age surpassing 21 under the prior policy. Those now applying under the new Feb. 14 policy might struggle to meet the 1-year sought to acquire requirement. However, noncitizens failing this requirement can still seek CSPA benefits if they can demonstrate that their failure resulted from extraordinary circumstances.

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