Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is available to certain undocumented foreign nationals under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents. SIJS is a way for minors under twenty-one years of age to apply for and obtain legal permanent residence in the United States.
In order to qualify for SIJ:
- The applicant must be under 21 years old;
- He/she must be unmarried;
- He/she must be declared dependent in a juvenile court;
- Reunification with one or both of the child’s parents must no longer be a viable option due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or a similar basis under state law; and
- It is not in the best interests of the minor to return to his/her country of nationality or last habitual residence.
Obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile status requires that a Family Court make certain determinations regarding the minor’s well-being and his or her best interests. This program exists so that children can avoid future harm that arises due to the abuse, abandonment, or neglect they suffered at the hands of one or both parents. This can be a complicated process; therefore, our office handles these matters from beginning to end. It is important to note that the Family Court does not make any immigration decisions. Their role is to determine the best interest of the minor, and whether there was abandonment, abuse, neglect or a similar basis under State Law. Once we obtain the Family Court orders that are required, we apply for the Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa. Once approved, if the minor meets all the requirements to adjust status, he or she may apply for a green card as a Special Immigrant Juvenile. We have helped many children in these proceedings. Call our office for a consultation for a more in-depth discussion on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.