What is the Child Status Protection Act?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2022 | Immigration |

The immigration system does not always move at a quick pace. Because of this, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services often has a backlog that severely slows down the process of seeking lawful permanent residency.

The problem with this is that age may play a role in an application, and if too much time passes, a person may age out of specific situations. This aging out can lead to further issues with the application. That is where the Child Status Protection Act helps.


When someone applies to become an LPR, they are either an adult or a child. Within the immigration system, a child is anyone under the age of 21 who does not have a spouse. If the process takes too long, by the time the USCIS processes the application, a child could become an adult. The typical process, if this happened, was to require the person to reapply as an adult.

Obviously, this was cumbersome for the system and the person applying. Congress recognized the applicants were not at fault and implemented the Child Status Protection Act.


The act ensures that children do not age out before their LPR application processing. The process for calculating the person’s age changes, not the definition of child for immigration purposes. A person will get a CSPA age, which USCIS will use to determine eligibility for applying as a child.

Age calculation

The way the USCIS calculates the age of the person is not standard. It can vary depending on the situation and type of petition. For some, the CSPA age is the age at the time of application. For others, it may be calculated by reducing the time spent waiting for processing.

The CSPA can make applying for LPR status fairer for those who enter the system when they are still a child under immigration definitions. It may prevent confusion and frustration for applicants and allows the system to run smoother.