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USCIS Revises Policy Guidance Regarding the ‘Sought to Acquire’ Requirement Under the Child Status Protection Act


WASHINGTON, DC – The USCIS Policy Manual has been updated to provide clarity on the application of the extraordinary circumstances exception to the “sought to acquire” requirement as outlined in the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), in light of the policy change introduced on February 14, 2023. This update, available in a PDF format of 331.87 KB, aims to offer a comprehensive understanding of the new guidelines.

Key points covered in the updated manual include:

1-Recognition of Feb. 14 Policy Change as an Extraordinary Circumstance:
The manual now explicitly acknowledges that the policy change enacted on February 14, 2023, is deemed an extraordinary circumstance that can excuse an applicant’s failure to meet the sought to acquire requirement.

2-Failure to Meet Sought to Acquire Requirement Due to Age Calculation Changes:
The manual elaborates on situations where an applicant did not apply for adjustment of their status due to their inability to calculate their CSPA age under the prior policy. Additionally, applicants whose CSPA age would have been determined as over 21 under the previous policy but are now eligible for CSPA age-out protection under the new policy can also have their failure to meet the sought to acquire requirement excused.

3-Sought to Acquire Requirement for Pending Applications:

For applicants with pending status adjustment applications as of February 14, the manual specifies that if they apply for adjustment of status within 1 year of a visa becoming available based on the Final Action Dates chart in accordance with the policy guidance in effect when they initially applied, they will be considered to have met the sought to acquire requirement.

The CSPA safeguards specific beneficiaries from losing their eligibility for immigrant visas and status adjustment due to aging during the immigration process, rendering them ineligible as children for immigration purposes. To avail of the CSPA benefits, noncitizens are required to seek lawful permanent resident status within 1 year of the availability of an immigrant visa. On February 14, USCIS issued policy guidance updating the criteria for determining when an immigrant visa is available for calculating an applicant’s CSPA age.

Before the policy change on February 14, 2023, certain noncitizens might not have pursued status adjustment due to unavailability of visas for calculating CSPA age under the previous policy. This resulted in some noncitizens’ CSPA age being calculated as over 21 years old. However, by applying for status adjustment under the new policy introduced on February 14, such noncitizens might face challenges in fulfilling the 1-year sought to acquire requirement. Despite this, noncitizens who fail to meet this requirement can still benefit from the CSPA if they can establish that their inability to meet the requirement stems from extraordinary circumstances.



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