Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) provides a pathway to lawful permanent residency for noncitizen children who have been abused, abandoned and/or neglected by one or both of their parents.
To qualify for SIJS, the child must be: under 21 years of age; unmarried; and under the jurisdiction of a state or juvenile court. Children involved in dependency and neglect proceedings, delinquency proceedings, allocation of parental responsibilities proceedings, guardianship proceedings, or adoption proceedings are all under the requisite jurisdiction and may be eligible to apply for SIJS.
Obtaining SIJS is a complicated, two-step process. The first step requires that the child obtain an order from the state or juvenile court. This order must make specific findings about the child. With this predicate order, the child can then apply for SIJS with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Special immigrant juveniles are forgiven for many of the grounds of inadmissibility that otherwise apply to applicants seeking lawful permanent residence, including:
- Entry without inspection;
- Inadmissibility at the time of entry, except when it is based on criminal convictions, drug violations, national security grounds and participation in Nazi activities;
- Failure to maintain valid nonimmigrant status;
- Working without authorization; and
Our attorneys represent children throughout each step of the SIJS application process and help them to achieve lawful status in the United States and, most importantly, a life free from abuse and neglect.