USCIS Updates ‘Sought to Acquire’ Requirement under CSPA Policy

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For individuals navigating the complexities of immigration processes, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) stands as a critical safeguard. USCIS continues to make updates to its policies to ensure fairness and clarity in the application of the CSPA. A policy change on February 14, 2023, has prompted USCIS to refine the application of the “sought to acquire” requirement under the CSPA. Read on to learn more about these updates, how they may affect individuals facing immigration matters, and the exceptional circumstances under which certain requirements can be excused.

What is the Child Status Protection Act?

The Child Status Protection Act plays a pivotal role in preventing beneficiaries from losing their eligibility for immigrant visas and adjustment of status due to age-related considerations during the immigration process. To reap the benefits of the CSPA, non-citizens must take steps to acquire lawful permanent resident status within one year of an immigrant visa becoming available. However, recent policy changes have prompted USCIS to address how the “sought to acquire” requirement is applied, particularly in extraordinary circumstances.

What Was the Recent Policy Update?

USCIS recognizes the significance of the February 14, 2023, policy change, deeming it an extraordinary circumstance that can potentially excuse an applicant’s inability to fulfill the “sought to acquire” requirement. Under this updated policy:

Adjustment of Status Calculation: Noncitizens who previously refrained from applying for status adjustment due to an inability to calculate their CSPA age under the prior policy or because their CSPA age would have been calculated as over 21 years old, now have a fresh opportunity. The new policy allows them to be eligible for CSPA age-out protection.
Pending Applications: Applicants whose status adjustment applications were pending on February 14 and who subsequently applied within one year of a visa becoming available based on the Final Action Dates chart under the policy guidance that was in effect when they initially applied, are now considered to have met the “sought to acquire” requirement.

Benefits of the CSPA Exception

For those individuals who may not meet the one-year “sought to acquire” requirement, this recent policy change acknowledges that exceptional circumstances can impact their ability to comply with the rule. The USCIS acknowledges that certain situations can lead to delays or complications, and individuals can still benefit from the CSPA if they can demonstrate that their failure to meet the requirement was a result of extraordinary circumstances.

In the ever-evolving landscape of immigration policies, the recent USCIS updates regarding the Child Status Protection Act underscore the agency’s commitment to fairness and understanding the challenges individuals face in their pursuit of lawful permanent resident status. If you find yourself in a situation where the “sought to acquire” requirement poses difficulties, the recent policy changes may provide a lifeline through the recognition of extraordinary circumstances. Remember that seeking legal counsel from experienced immigration lawyers can be instrumental in navigating these complexities and ensuring the best possible outcome for your immigration journey.

For any specific questions or personalized guidance related to your immigration matters, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced New York City immigration lawyers. We’re here to help you understand your options, make informed decisions, and guide you through every step of the process.