USCIS Updates “Sought to Acquire” Requirement Under the CSPA
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify how the agency will apply the extraordinary circumstances exception to the “sought to acquire” requirement under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).
This policy manual update:
- Explains that USCIS considers 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 USCIS 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 USCS considers 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, a crucial safeguard for certain immigrant visa beneficiaries, aims to prevent the loss of eligibility for permanent resident status due to aging out during the immigration process. To harness the benefits of the CSPA, noncitizens must actively seek to acquire lawful permanent resident status within one year of the availability of an immigrant visa. However, the CSPA landscape recently witnessed a policy adjustment on Feb. 14, 2023, which brought about changes in how an immigrant visa’s availability is calculated for the purpose of determining 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.
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