Securing A Green Card For A Child Under 21 Using CSPA

Securing A Green Card For Child Under 21 Living Outside The US With CSPA

Full Video Transcript

The Burmese child, “child”, was 20 years old and 3 months when the father petitioned him. The father wasn’t even in the US. The father was a US citizen, but living abroad. Filed the I-130, and then by the time the child adjusted status in the US was already way over 21 years old. The case was approved without a request for evidence, and the craziest part is that the father hadn’t lived in the US for like 10 years. If you know immigration law, you know that that is a red flag. I’m going to walk you through everything we did so you can see how this was done. Let’s go.

Hi everyone, my name is Joseph. I’m the managing partner here at Tsang & Associates, where we solve legal problems with creative solutions. So the legal problem was that this father wanted to get his son a green card. Now there’s nothing simpler and more humane than that, but the son is already 20 years old by the time we filed the I-130. Now why is that even a big deal? Because once you hit 21, you are considered an adult under immigration law, and so now you can no longer be in the same category. This is an extremely long process if you are an adult child versus if you’re a minor, right? So these few months can make a huge difference.

But there were so many huge obstacles. They didn’t live here, no tax returns, needed to get a joint sponsor, needed to file, needed to freeze the age, needed to be in the US to study and then get a green card afterwards, right? 

There’s so many processes, and one particular nuance was that this case was originally filed so that the child would be able to go to the Embassy abroad in Burma to get the green card. But because they needed to go to school fast, we got them here on an F-1 visa and then changed it from NVC and consulate all the way to adjustment status in the US and skipped the interview. 

There are just so many pivots that we had to do, and it’s just like a beautiful game of basketball where you keep on changing up the strategy, you shoot, and then you alley-oop. In the end, there are just so many of these techniques.

Sure, the end result was a green card, but how do you get there? That’s the art. If we didn’t do the I-130 correctly early stage, everything gets delayed, and potentially wouldn’t be able to get the green card because the child would have aged out. Right? 

He filed the case when they were 20 years old. And to make things more complicated, when we filed the adjustment of status, the I-130 wasn’t approved yet. Right? The I-130, which was already very difficult on its own. We requested USCIS to amend the I-130, change it from NVC to the US adjustment of status, and it wasn’t approved yet. When we filed the case, we just provided the I-130 receipt. So just think about how many things that we had to change to get this case done correctly.

We helped the child enter the US as an F-1 student. If we didn’t get the kid into the US and study, then they potentially had to do the National Visa Center and consulate, and they would have missed out on a great education. Maybe they still would have gotten the green card, maybe not, because we know consulates are a lot more strict than in the US. But we were able to get them in and help them adjust status. 

If they had to do requests for evidence and interviews, and then instead of 9 months, it became 18 months or 2 years. Well then, the student would have continued to pay tuition fees, and that could have been another $20,000-$50,000 in private school tuition fees.

But back in October and November, in the freezing cold of that winter COVID storm, we helped this Burmese family strategize the entire plan. And based on that vision, we executed it perfectly, and then the case was approved. The entire family rejoiced, and Cathy and her team celebrated. We don’t see a lot of videos of Cathy, but she is the mastermind behind a lot of these complex family cases. So when she watches the video, she could probably share more, but we’re so happy for this family. If you have any questions about CSPA, about adjustment of status, about changing from National Visa Center to consulate, feel free to give us a call. We’d love to talk to you. Take care. Bye-bye.


In this case, the Tsang & Associates team helped to secure a green card for a child under 21 – but just under. When this case came to us the child petitioning was just under 21, 20 years and three months old. His father wanted to secure a green card before the child turned 21 to avoid the complications that could cause. At the same time, this child and his family, including his father, were living outside the US and had for nearly ten years. The family was hoping the child could come to the US as quickly as possible to study. While we knew we could help, several factors turned what could be a very straightforward case into a much more challenging one.



When this case first came to us the petitioning child was 9 months away from his 21st birthday. The goal was to be able to avoid the additional complication and length of time that can come with an adjustment of status for an adult child that is one over the age of 21. For this client we were able to update the original I-130 petition to change the application to an adjustment of status all before the child’s age became another complicating factor.




Our client was the child of a US citizen; however, the father and child were not currently living in the US. They were living outside the US in Myanmar. Beyond the ultimate goal to secure a green card for their child, this family also wanted their child to be able to come to the US to study right away. This was part of the challenge in this case and there were several others.



The largest challenge here was that the family did not live in the United States. They had been living outside the country for around ten years, including the father who was the US citizen. Because of this, they didn’t have any tax returns to show, they didn’t have any of the normal evidence we might submit because they weren’t in the US.


With the child being so close to 21 we also needed to freeze the age, so that in any additional proceedings, he would be considered under the age of 21. For this we had to use CSPA, or the Child Status Protection Act. (Find more information on CSPA updates here.)

They didn’t live here. Didn’t have any tax returns to show.


We also needed a Joint Sponsor for this case. This is someone, a citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) who can financially support the child and this needed to be outlined and included in the case documents. 


Finally, timing was a challenge. For the child to be able to come to the US and study right away, we had to be flexible and change the original strategy so that we were able to get him here and then use an adjustment of status to secure a green card for this child under 21.






When this case came to us it had already been filed through the National Visa Center and the consulate so that the child would have his interview in his home country before entering the US with a green card; however, this process was delaying the child arriving in the US to study. To get around this, we had to be flexible and make adjustments to our initial strategy, so we filed for an F-1 student visa to allow the child to enter the US. Then, when the child arrived, he was free to study and we were able to submit an adjustment of status and request the case be updated to USCIS so that this client would not need to return for an interview in his home country to get a green card. The crazy part is that this was filed before the I-130 petition was approved, but we had all of our documents laid out well, with all the details, and we were able to submit the I-130 receipt. 

Not only did this change in the processing method, eliminate the need for the return to the home country, but it also sped up the process. Going through the National Visa Center and the consulate in the home country takes more time than going through USCIS, so we were able to speed up the entire process this way. This was a critical element, given the child’s age and what were hoping to achieve. If we didn’t maintain flexibility to adapt our strategy to new methods, we would not have been able to achieve the same case result. The process may have taken much longer and this child could have missed out on a great educational opportunity.




The family living outside the US for so long is often seen as a red flag in immigration cases like these, so we needed to be sure to address this when submitting documentation. To speed up the process we also needed to find a way to update the application once the child was in the US. Because we were able to bring him here on an F-1 student visa, once he was in the US we could switch to an I-485 filing for adjustment of status. This meant faster processing than the original consulate process and the child no longer needed to go through the interview process. This creative thinking was a win-win.


Using CSPA to freeze the child’s age was another key that made the process much faster and helped this family get to their goal of green card status even faster.




In the end, we were able to secure a green card for this child under age 21. Despite all of the unique challenges, we were able to help this family and this child come to the US to study and get through the immigration process much faster. In addition, the child didn’t miss out on the opportunity to come and study in the US to further his education. It was a success all around..




Each case has it’s own unique challenges, but that doesn’t mean we shy away from assisting. Our team here at Tsang & Associates thrives on these type of challenging cases. We love to help families with their immigration needs and we love to find creative solutions to any legal problems. 


If you have questions about CSPA, about adjustment of status, or are looking for assistance with your green card or other immigration services, contact us. We would love to help.

Original Content

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