USCIS Policy Manual Update on the “Sought to Acquire” Requirement Under the Child Status Protection Act

We are revising the USCIS Policy Manual to provide further clarification on how we will interpret the extraordinary circumstances exception to the “sought to acquire” requirement under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) in response to a policy change on Feb. 14, 2023. This update (PDF, 331.87 KB):

Clarifies that the Feb. 14 policy change is considered an extraordinary circumstance that may excuse an applicant’s failure to meet the sought-to-acquire requirement; Specifies that an applicant’s failure to meet the sought-to-acquire requirement may be excused if they refrained from applying for adjustment of status due to an inability to calculate their CSPA age under the prior policy or if their CSPA age, calculated under the previous policy, would have exceeded 21 years, but they now qualify for CSPA age-out protection under the new policy; and Specifies that applicants will be deemed to have met the sought-to-acquire requirement if their adjustment of status application was pending on Feb. 14, and they submitted their application within 1 year of a visa becoming available according to the Final Action Dates chart under the policy guidance in effect when they applied.

The CSPA safeguards certain beneficiaries from losing eligibility for immigrant visas and adjustment of status due to aging during the immigration process, thereby no longer qualifying as a child for immigration purposes. To avail themselves of CSPA benefits, noncitizens must endeavor to obtain lawful permanent resident status within 1 year of the availability of an immigrant visa. On Feb. 14, USCIS issued policy guidance updating when an immigrant visa is considered available for calculating an applicant’s CSPA age.

Under the policy guidance in effect before Feb. 14, 2023, some noncitizens may not have pursued adjustment of status as a visa was unavailable for calculating their CSPA age under the prior policy, or their CSPA age would have exceeded 21 years. If these noncitizens apply for adjustment of status under the new policy issued on Feb. 14, they may face challenges meeting the 1-year sought-to-acquire requirement. Nonetheless, noncitizens failing to meet this requirement may still be eligible for CSPA benefits if they can demonstrate that their failure resulted from extraordinary circumstances.

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