SIJS- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Immigration Services - Special Immigrant Juveniles

Immigration Services Attorney in California

Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJS) is a classification of immigration status in the United States that provides a pathway to lawful permanent residency (a green card) for certain immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents. SIJS is intended to protect vulnerable children and ensure their well-being by granting them a legal immigration status.

Here are the key aspects of Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJS):

1. Eligibility Criteria:
Age: The applicant must be under 21 years old at the time of filing the SIJS petition. Dependency: The child must have been declared dependent on a juvenile court in the United States or have been placed under the custody of a state agency or individual appointed by the state due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. Best Interests: It must be determined by the juvenile court that it is not in the child's best interest to return to their home country due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Legal Status: The child must be present in the United States, either as an undocumented immigrant or in a temporary immigration status, at the time of filing the SIJS petition.

2. Juvenile Court Order:
Obtaining a juvenile court order is a crucial step in the SIJS process. The court order should contain specific findings related to the child's dependency and the best interests determination.

3. Filing the SIJS Petition (Form I-360):
To apply for SIJS, the child's legal guardian or a person acting as their guardian must file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

4. Green Card Application (Adjustment of Status):
Once USCIS approves the Form I-360 petition, the child can apply for lawful permanent residency (a green card) by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

5. Benefits:
SIJS provides children with lawful permanent residency, which grants them the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. After five years of being a lawful permanent resident, SIJS beneficiaries may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process.

6. Family Reunification:
SIJS beneficiaries may also be able to petition for green cards for certain family members, such as their unmarried children under 21 and, in some cases, their parents.

SIJS is an important humanitarian immigration program designed to protect and provide legal status to vulnerable immigrant children who have faced difficult circumstances in the United States. It is essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the SIJS process effectively and ensure that all requirements are met.