Special Immigrant Juveniles, or SIJs, are children who have been referred to state juvenile court for reasons such as abuse, abandonment, neglect, or similar. The Special Immigration Juvenile Green Card permits them to seek lawful permanent residence in the United States based on the USCIS’s determination. For more information or legal help, consult a professional today.
The benefits and drawbacks of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Some benefits of obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile status include the child not having to have entered the United States legally and not having to show any means of financial support -both of which are barriers to most other types of green card approvals because they make the applicant “inadmissible.”
For Special Immigrant Juveniles, most other reasons for inadmissibility are irrelevant. Furthermore, Special Immigrant Juveniles are among the few groups of immigrants qualified to waive the application fee for a green card (USCIS Form I-485).
One downside of this green card option is that a child given Special Immigration Juvenile Status can never legally file an immigration petition for either parent. Thus, even if just one parent was abusive or inattentive, the child will never be able to apply for a green card for the non-abusive parent. For immigration reasons, the child is treated as an orphan.
SIJS eligibility criteria
SIJS is only available to people under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both of their parents and live in the United States. Individuals must be unmarried and have a court order putting them in the custody of a parent or other third party to qualify.
Certain courts in several states lose jurisdiction over persons after age of 18. However, jurisdiction for SIJS continues explicitly for people aged 18 to 20 in a guardianship process. This includes the authority to finish a new case and extend a former guardianship to incorporate SIJS language that was not previously entered.
SIJS for those between the ages of 18 and 20
Young adults above 18 but under 21 must participate actively in the guardianship procedure by providing their approval to the designated guardian. The court acknowledges the relevance and rights of minors over 18 to participate in and understand guardianship proceedings.
Proposed guardians between 18 and 20 must fulfill the same qualifications and undergo the same procedures as those under 18, including fingerprinting and searching the Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking System. Once a court signs an order, a minor must submit it in their SIJS application to USCIS.