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What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and how do I know if I qualify?

June 03, 2022
  • Business Immigration
  • Individual Immigration

Many immigrants try to enter the U.S. legally when they are under the age of 21.

In response, U.S. law says they cannot immigrate to the U.S. unless they are adults or have parents/guardians with them.

However, there is a way for immigrants under the age of 21 to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States. It’s called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and you may qualify for it.

What is SIJS?

SIJS is a unique classification that is only available to immigrants under the age of 21. It allows them to become lawful permanent residents (not yet fully U.S. citizens) without the presence of a parent or guardian.

This special classification is reserved for youth who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents.

The benefit of SIJS is that it eliminates some disqualifications that often prevent young immigrants from becoming permanent residents. In addition, someone with SIJS may eventually apply to be a full-fledged U.S. citizen.

Who can qualify for SIJS?

Naturally, you may wonder whether or not you or someone you know qualifies for SIJS.

Not everyone under the age of 21 qualifies. In addition to being abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents, other requirements for SIJS include:

  • Be under 21 years of age. (Some juvenile courts may only be able to issue a juvenile court order if you are under 18)
  • Not be married.
  • Already be in the United States.
  • Be declared dependent on the court, as a juvenile dependency.
    • This means that the court will not allow you to live with one or both of your parents. They dictate that it is in your best interest to separate from them. This is usually the case in situations where parents neglect or abuse a child. (This process does not require parental involvement and does not open up the possibility of criminal consequences)

You must also be ruled by a court that it is not in your best interest to return to your home country.

If you meet these criteria, you could be eligible for this special immigration classification. If you think you meet these requirements, it’s important to know what to do next.

What should you do if you qualify for SIJS?

The most important thing to do is consult with immigration experts. Immigration attorneys will help you go through every stage of this path.

At Eagan Immigration, we have worked on numerous SIJS cases and helped many young people obtain permanent resident status.

Initially, we will meet with you and discuss your current situation. We want to know what’s going on in your life and why you want to apply for SIJS. Then, our team of immigration experts will evaluate your case and see if you qualify or not.

If you qualify, we will build a case and help you file a petition in court.

There is a two-stage process that can be very complicated and confusing. That’s why we recommend working with a specialist to make sure you send all the right information and go through all the right stages.

  • Stage One: Involves obtaining a “special determination order” from the Family or Probate Court in the county in which you currently live. This will declare that you are eligible for SIJS.
  • Stage Two: consists of submitting the application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for SIJS classification.

An immigration law firm will do everything possible to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible. In the end, you will get SIJS and then you can apply to be a lawful permanent resident.

It will take time and you will not be a full-fledged citizen, but you can legally live and work in the United States of America.

We’re here to help!

At Eagan Immigration, we know how difficult it is to navigate the complex immigration laws of the United States. We are dedicated to helping you explore your immigration options, create a plan, and then file a case for the immigration benefits you qualify for!

We help our clients obtain documents when other attorneys have told them “no.” We want all immigrants in the United States to obtain legal status and we want to lead the way in achieving this goal.

Our attorneys strive to find creative and ethical solutions for our clients. Even in the most complex situations, we will find ready-made strategies to win cases that others thought impossible. Why? Because we care about our customers and their families.

We will create a safe place for you to seek an attorney’s advice about your immigration options. Contact us to begin the process!

If you think you qualify for SIJS Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or would like to see if you do, contact us today.

Call 202-709-6439 or email us at [email protected] today!