The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted to protect children, who will “age-out” when they reach 21, to enable them to continue with the immigration process despite reaching that age. The child’s age is locked in when an immediate relative petition is filed by a U.S. citizen parent before the child becomes 21. It benefits unmarried children who are the beneficiaries of F-2A petitions and remain 21 when their lawful permanent resident parents become U.S. citizens. It also benefits previously married children, who are below 21, who can now be petitioned as immediate relatives. CSPA provides a formula to calculate and lock in the age, as well as make the benefit available by filing the application within one year of visa availability.
CSPA also provides for the opportunity to “opt-out” of a visa classification that may result in a lengthier wait for the priority date to be reached. The specific situation referred to here is when the petitioning parent of an F-2B beneficiary becomes a U.S. citizen, resulting in the F-2B petition (lawful permanent resident filing a petition for an unmarried son or daughter) being automatically converted into an F-1 petition (U.S. citizen filing a petition for an unmarried son or daughter). F-2B beneficiaries from the Philippines especially benefit from this “opt-out” provision because, at the present time, the priority date for F-2B beneficiaries from the Philippines can be reached sooner compared to F-1 beneficiaries.