Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)?
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a way for certain children who qualify to seek lawful permanent residence in the United States. It provides immigration relief to a child who has been involved in state court proceedings related to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis. Youth who successfully obtain an SIJ visa are immediately eligible to apply for adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident.
Who is Eligible for SIJS?
Before a child can apply for a special visa under SIJS, the federal government requires that state courts make three specific findings of fact:
- That the child has been declared dependent on a juvenile court or legally committed to or placed under the custody of a state agency or department or an individual or entity appointed by a state or juvenile court;
- That reunification with one or both of the child’s parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law; and
- That it is not in the child’s best interest to be returned to his or her country of nationality or last habitual residence.
If the above findings are not made by a state court, then the child is not eligible for SIJS.
How to Apply for SIJS
If a state court has made the three specific findings outlined above, the child, or their immigration lawyer can file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. These forms are either filed together or separately, depending on whether or not the child is currently in removal proceedings.
Are There Any Limitations on SIJS?
An individual who acquires lawful permanent resident status through SIJS may not petition for their family to come to the United States until they meet residency requirements and become a U.S. Citizen through the naturalization process. Additionally, since a finding of fact has been made by a state court for reasons of abandonment, neglect, or abuse, SIJS holders may not petition for their parents at any time.
The applications for SIJS and Adjustment of Status can be burdensome and time consuming. Additionally, new USCIS policies require a complete application on the first submission. Consider setting up a consultation with an attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.
This Blog/Web Site is made available by Gilles Law, PLLC , a Charlotte-based law firm, for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.