USCIS Updates Policy Guidance for the “Sought to Acquire” Requirement Under the Child Status Protection Act
We are updating the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify how we will apply the extraordinary circumstances exception to the “sought to acquire” requirement under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) in light of a Feb. 14, 2023, policy change. This update (PDF, 331.87 KB):
- Explains that we consider the Feb. 14 policy change to be an extraordinary circumstance that may excuse an applicant’s failure to meet the sought to acquire requirement;
- Clarifies that we may excuse an applicant’s failure to meet the sought to acquire requirement if they did not apply to adjust their status because they could not calculate their CSPA age under the prior policy or their CSPA age would have been calculated as over 21, but they are now eligible for CSPA age-out protection under the new policy; and
- Clarifies that we consider applicants to have met the sought to acquire requirement if their application to adjust their status was pending on Feb. 14 and they applied to adjust their status within 1 year of a visa becoming available based on the Final Action Dates chart under the policy guidance that was in effect when they applied.
The CSPA protects certain beneficiaries from losing their eligibility for immigrant visas and adjustment of status because they age during the immigration process and no longer qualify as a child for immigration purposes. To benefit from the CSPA, noncitizens must seek to acquire lawful permanent resident status within 1 year of when an immigrant visa becomes available. On Feb. 14 USCIS issued policy guidance updating when an immigrant visa becomes available for the purpose of calculating an applicant’s CSPA age.
Under the policy guidance in effect before Feb. 14, 2023, some noncitizens may not have applied to adjust their status because a visa was not available to calculate CSPA age under the prior policy or the noncitizen’s CSPA age would have been calculated to be over 21 years old. If these noncitizens apply to adjust their status under the new policy issued on Feb. 14, they may not be able to meet the 1-year sought to acquire requirement. However, noncitizens who do not meet this requirement may still benefit from the CSPA if they can establish that their failure to meet the requirement was the result of extraordinary circumstances.
Visit the Policy Manual Feedback page to comment on this update. USCIS welcomes feedback on this guidance and will consider any comments received in future updates.