Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Attorney (SIJS)

The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) classification provides certain youth who have been subject to state juvenile court proceedings with the ability to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States.

What is the SIJS status Visa?

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SIJS is a legal status created to protect juveniles who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both of their parents or legal guardians.

Special immigrant juvenile status visa requirements

To meet this prerequisite the child needs:
  1. Being a minor as defined under state law, statutorily a person who is under 18 years of age. If the minor is less than 2 months away from turning 18 it will be difficult (though not impossible) for this process to be completed before the minor reaches the age of majority.
  2. Be single (Not married);
  3. Be enrolled and attending school;
  4. Being in the U.S. without his mother and father;
  5. The child must be in long-term foster care, or in the legal guardianship of an adult present in the US. who will be the petitioner and will be required to attend the juvenile court hearing;
  6. The petition must be based on a statement by the minor and/or petitioner that there was abuse, neglect and/or abandonment of the child by his or her parents.
  7. The child’s parents will have to sign an affidavit before a notary in their country showing that they are aware of the court process, the date of the hearing and releasing their rights to the child since they do not want reunification. This document will be provided by the lawyer to be sent abroad.
  8. Once the parents have been signed and notified, they will need to attach a copy of their declaration of identity document and return it to the attorney. It is recommended that you fax or e-mail the original document to the attorney first in case it is lost or does not arrive in time.

This type of humanitarian relief provides a way through which victims can stabilize their situation in the U.S. and build a sense of safety and security.

How to obtain a special immigrant juvenile status visa and who qualifies for SIJS?

Under the law, a minor qualifies for SIJS status if he or she meets the prerequisite of obtaining a dependency order from a juvenile court in the state. This means that there are two SIJS processes for the juvenile visa:

First Process:

It will be necessary for a state court to first find and decide that reunification of the child with one or both parents is not feasible due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment or a similar basis under applicable state law, and that it is not in the best interest of the child to return to his or her country.

This means that at a minimum a parent’s failure, whether willful neglect or inability, to take the necessary steps to provide a child with minimally adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, emotional and physical stability, and development, or other essential care must be shown.

Examples :

  • Children are not allowed to go to school, although siblings are allowed.
  • Parents unable to protect child from gang violence.
  • A child is abandoned if “left without any provision of support and without any person responsible for maintaining care, custody and control”.
  • The child went abroad to work and support the family, but the parents did not maintain any relationship with the child.
  • Parents let the child go unaccompanied to the U.S.

Second Process:

Only after having the Dependency Order is it possible to proceed with this second process in which the I-360 form must be completed and sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).

To be eligible requires:

  1. The dependency order;
  2. Be under 21 years of age at the time of application;
  3. Be single (cannot be married before applying);
  4. Remain in the United States during the entire process;
  5. Failure to reunify with their parents.

If you do not know which procedure applies to you or need help determining the eligibility of your case, contact a group of special immigrant juvenile status attorneys.

What are the benefits of the special immigrant juvenile status?

There are many benefits for which the SIJS status is useful:

*Note: If you are granted Permanent Residence through the SIJS process, you cannot apply to help your parents receive immigration status.

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Talk to a special immigrant juvenile status attorney now

As with other proceedings of this style, initiating the process of applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status can be very difficult without the assistance of an SIJS status attorney to help you. Potential victims lose all access to this humanitarian relief as soon as they reach the age of majority, so it is necessary to act quickly and seek legal counsel to determine eligibility. The attorneys at Urbina Law are ready to help you.