If a person filing for permanent residency (a.k.a. getting a “green card”) is 21 or less and unmarried, he or she will be able to file as a child. However, if the child’s parents are legal permanent residents, there is the danger of “aging out.” Even after the papers are filed for permanent residency, it can take many months to officially register the adjustment of status. In the meantime, the person could turn 21, and no longer qualify as a child, thus “aging out.” Now he or she must start all over again to file as an adult.
Children of Citizens Have an Advantage
“Aging out” only applies to children of legal permanent residents, not children of U.S. citizens. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) mandates that a U.S. citizen can avoid aging out by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. By using this form, you can “lock in” a certain time, with the person’s age at the time being the operative age.
If this process seems confusing or complicated, don’t worry. At Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC, our lawyers and staff can guide you through all your immigration matters carefully and compassionately. We will make sure you are not in danger of “aging out” and will always keep you informed.