Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is an immigration status available to certain immigrants who are under the age of 21 and have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents. SIJS is a pathway for minors to obtain legal permanent residence (a green card) in the United States.
To be eligible for SIJS, a family court must make the following findings:
- The minor is under the age of 21;
- The minor is unmarried;
- The minor needs to be found dependent upon the family court, meaning that the Family Court must take jurisdiction over a petition for either custody or guardianship;
- Reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, abandonment or neglect, or a similar basis under state law; and
- It is not in the best interest for the minor to return to their home country.
SIJS is a great program that waives several types of inadmissibility grounds that would otherwise prevent an immigrant from becoming a lawful permanent resident. It is also a defensive if the child is currently in immigration proceedings.
The SIJS process starts before the family court after an eligible adult files a guardianship petition for the child. The adult can be a parent, family member, or friend of the minor who is over the age of 18 and willing to care and provide for the minor until they reach adulthood. The Family Court will ensure that the adult is a suitable caretaker. The Family Court Judge will also make an order finding that the minor meets the five requirements listed above. With these orders, the child can then petition to USCIS to be classified as a Special Immigrant Juvenile.
The Rivera Julka Law Group of Bay Shore, New York also assists adults hoping to enter the U.S. under a protected status. Please visit our Asylum and Refugees page for more information.
For more information about obtaining a juvenile status attorney, use the contact form below to request a free consultation with the Rivera Julka Law Group on Bay Shore, New York.