During the time you are waiting for the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, approval, your child could reach age 21, making him or her an adult by immigration law. At one time this adversely affected the petition and wait time.
Congress recognized that many beneficiaries were "aging out" because of large backlogs and long processing times for visa petitions. On August 6, 2002, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) came into affect. CSPA is designed to protect a beneficiary’s immigration classification as a child when he or she ages out due to excessive processing times.
In general, this is how CSPA works:
- If the petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) was filed by a U.S. citizen parent for his or her child, the beneficiary’s age “freezes” on the date of filing.
- If the petition (Form I-130) was filed by a permanent resident parent and the parent naturalizes before the beneficiary turns 21, the beneficiary’s age “freezes” on the date the petitioner naturalized.
You can learn more about the additional rules and eligibility criteria at USCIS.gov.