The term “aging out” refers to a situation where a dependent child of an H-1B visa holder reaches the age of 21 and can no longer be considered a dependent for immigration purposes. This is particularly relevant in the context of the H-4 visa, which is the dependent visa for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of H-1B visa holders.
When a dependent child on an H-4 visa turns 21, they may no longer qualify as a dependent under that visa category. At this point, they might need to explore alternative visa options, such as changing to a different visa category, applying for their own independent visa, or seeking other immigration options.
In February 2023, USCIS changed the way ‘age” is calculated. Under the new guidance, the agency now uses the “Dates for Filing” instead of “Final Action Date” for calculating a noncitizen’s age under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) when an immigrant visa number becomes available. The move was designed to help children of immigrants who cannot get green cards with their parents on turning 21 or aging out,
If the child is close to turning 21, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney to understand the available options and plan accordingly.
Aging out can have implications for the family’s immigration status, and it’s important for affected individuals to be aware of the rules and regulations governing dependent status and to take appropriate steps to maintain legal immigration status. Immigration laws and policies can change, so it’s always recommended to consult with an immigration professional for the most up-to-date and accurate information based on the specific circumstances.
New USCIS policy to help aged out Indian children (February 15, 2023)
As daughter ages out, Indian mom forced to self-deport (December 16, 2021)
80,000 Indian children in green card backlog risk aging out (November 30, 2020)