How Does Aging Out of a Green Card Work?


More than 10,000 people age out of green cards each year. The issue is becoming so major that many tech companies are urging the Department of Homeland Security to revise aging out policies. More than 200,000 children grow up in the United States on parent visas, without having visas of their own. 

If your child turns 21 while you’re still waiting for a green card then they might “age out” of the permanent status that they would have gained if their parent had been able to obtain a green card. This problem is very common thanks to backlogs in US immigration

The Child Status Protection Act is meant to help with this issue somewhat. It allows some beneficiaries to retain status as a child for the purposes of immigration, even if they’ve reached the age of 21. 

Who is Eligible for CSPA?

CPSA beneficiaries must be:

  • The beneficiary of a pending or approved visa petition on or after August 6, 2002.
  • Must not have had a final decision on an application for adjustment of status before August 6, 2022.
  • Must seek to acquire permanent residence within 1 year of a visa becoming available. This means filing an I-485 or DS-230.
  • If the parent filed a Form I-130 for the child then the age “freezes” on the date of filing. 

The child’s “immigration age” is calculated by subtracting the number of days the petition has been pending from the age of the child at the date a visa becomes available. 

What happens if you aren’t eligible for CSPA?

You might have to leave the country. There may also be options for obtaining employment-based authorization of your own, or, if you are getting married to a US citizen, you may be able to obtain spousal immigration on your own, as an adult, rather than as a child. 

Get Help Getting a Green Card

It is possible for the children of immigrants to get green cards of their own, or even to naturalize as US citizens. Yet this requires help from a qualified immigration lawyers. 

If you fear you or your child are in danger of “aging out,” don’t delay. Contact Hykel Law to set up a case review today. We’ll review your options, answer your questions, and discuss next steps.

Contact us today.

See also:

Is My Family Member Eligible for Immigration? 

7 Ways to Get a Green Card

What is the Child Citizenship Act?

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