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Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

In the intricate web of U.S. immigration law, there exists a little-known pathway that holds immense promise for vulnerable immigrant children seeking safety and stability in the United States. On this blog with Casas Immigration, you will learn how Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) offers a lifeline to those who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment, providing them with a pathway to lawful permanent residency and a brighter future.

Requirements for SIJS:

Age: The applicant must be under 21 years old at the time of filing the SIJS petition with USCIS. Could vary according to the residence state.

Dependency or Custody Order: The applicant must have a valid dependency or custody order from a state juvenile court, declaring them dependent on the court and finding that reunification with one or both parents is not in their best interest due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

Best Interest of the Child: The court’s order must be based on a determination that it is in the best interest of the child to remain in the United States.

Eligibility for Green Card: The applicant must be admissible to the United States or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility.

Benefits of SIJS:

  1. Protection from Deportation: SIJS provides recipients with lawful permanent residency, protecting them from deportation and allowing them to remain in the United States legally.

  2. Access to Education: SIJS recipients have access to educational opportunities, including public schools and universities, enabling them to pursue their academic aspirations.

  3. Authorization to Work: Upon receiving SIJS, individuals are authorized to work in the United States, allowing them to pursue employment opportunities and support themselves financially.

  4. Family Reunification: SIJS can facilitate family reunification by allowing eligible children to petition for green cards for their parents and unmarried siblings under certain circumstances.

  5. Pathway to Citizenship: After holding lawful permanent resident status for a specified period, SIJS recipients may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, granting them full rights and privileges as American citizens.

Application Process for SIJS:

  • Obtain Dependency or Custody Order:

    The first step is to obtain a dependency or custody order from a state juvenile court, declaring the child dependent on the court and finding that reunification with one or both parents is not in their best interest due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

  • Gather Necessary Documentation:

    Gather all required documentation, including the court order, birth certificate, passport, and any other supporting evidence of eligibility.

  • Complete USCIS Forms:

    Fill out the necessary USCIS forms, primarily Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, along with supporting documentation.

  • Submit Application to USCIS:

    Submit the completed application package to USCIS, along with any required fees or fee waiver requests.

  • Attend Biometrics Appointment:

    If scheduled, attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and a signature for identity verification.

  • Await USCIS Decision:

    USCIS will review the application and make a decision on whether to approve or deny SIJS. This process may take several months.

  • Apply for Adjustment of Status:

    If approved, the next step is to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status by filing Form I-485 and supporting documentation.

  • Attend Interviews and Follow-Up:

    Attend any scheduled interviews and provide any requested additional documentation or information to USCIS.

  • Receive Decision:

    Upon adjudication of the adjustment of status application, the applicant will receive a decision. If approved, they will receive their green card and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Navigating the SIJS process can be complex, and applicants are encouraged to seek assistance from legal professionals or reputable organizations specializing in immigration law.

Call us today to schedule a consultation at (312) 971-7221