What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or (SIJS) is specifically for children or young adults (18 to 21) who are present in the United States and can show that they have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent. SIJS is a way for these individuals to obtain a green card in the United States.
This article will walk you through who may qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and what the process is like. Since the process is a complicated one, it is most important that you hire an immigration attorney to help you navigate through the process.
Who qualifies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
Non-citizen children and some young adults who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by a parent may be able to get a green card
The Non-citizen children and young adults must be under the age of 21
The Non-citizen children and young adults must be under the age of 21 and must file before the age of 21
The child or young adult is not married
The child or young adult must currently live in the United States at the time of filing their petition
The child or young adult has an order from a family court that finds that the child or young adult has been abused, neglected or abandoned by a parent
What is the process for obtaining your green under Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
Step 1: Juvenile State Court Proceedings
In order to be eligible for SIJS, the state court must find that the child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by either one or both of their parents. The state court must also find that reunification with the abusive parent is not viable and returning to their home country is not in the child’s best interest.
Once step one has been completed and is approved by the state courts you can then petition for SIJS status.
Step 2: How to Petition for SIJS Status
The first step in your petition for a green card is to complete and submit Form I-360
Along with your Form I-360, you may also complete and submit Form I-485 (in a one-step filing), which is the Application to Register for Permanent Residence. Both forms may be filed at the same time if the priority date for the birth country is current.
It is important that you filled out all your forms completely and correctly and you should file these forms along with your immigration attorney. In addition to Form I-360, you will need to provide supporting documentation. Your immigration attorney can also help with the gathering of supporting documents.
Here’s a list of some of the documents you will need to collect while filing;
Evidence of your age (must be under 18 or 21 at the time of petition, depending on the jurisdiction) birth certificate, passport, or identification card are acceptable forms of identification
Predicate court order
Form I-693, which is the Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
Form G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative
Step 3: Petition for Permanent Residency for Special Immigrant Juvenile Green Card
If your petition has been approved and you are granted SIJS classification, you may be eligible for a Green Card by filing Form I-485. You may also be able to file Form I-912 to waive the fee for permanent residency.
A decision by the USCIS typically takes about 8 – 12 months from the date you filed your Form I-485. During this time if you need to provide any additional evidence, you will be contacted by USCIS.
There are many benefits to obtaining a green card through SIJS. SIJS waives many types of inadmissibility issues that would prevent an immigrant from getting a green card. For example, SIJS waives unlawful entry, working without authorization and even public charge concerns.
The path to your green card through SIJS is a complicated journey. It is important that you hire an attorney to help you navigate through the process. We can help.
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Areas of Immigration Law:
Naturalization (Citizenship) Application
Immigrant Relative Petitions
Fiancé Visa Applications
Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing
Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Green Card Renewals
Temporary Work Visas
Temporary Protected Status
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals