SIJS – Part One
SIJS also known as Special Immigration Juvenile Status, allows the applicant to basically apply for their Legal Permanent Residence. The way that the process of the program works depends on many factors and you should always consult an attorney to see if you would qualify. We will review the different types of situations for the application in this and subsequent posts, but for now, we will focus on the several main points for qualification (note that there are many more which you will discuss with your attorney).
- The immigrant is under 21 years of age at the time of the application (could be less depending on the state in which the immigrant lives, we will discuss this in a later post in more detail.
- The immigrant Must Be currently living in the United States. You cannot apply from outside the country to come to the United States on SIJ classification.
- The immigrant must Be unmarried. This means you either: Have never been married; or Were previously married, but the marriage ended in annulment, divorce, or death.
- The immigrant is dependent on the court, or in the custody of a state agency or department or an individual or entity appointed by the court. This would be Family Court in most if not in fact in all situations
- It must be proven that the immigrant cannot be reunified with one or both of their parents because of ANY of the following: Abuse, Abandonment, Neglect, or A similar basis under state law. (This is a pretty complex concept and we will look deeper into this in the next post.)
- It must be proven that it is not in the immigrants’ best interests to return to the country of nationality or last habitual residence of their or their parents.
- The immigrant must be eligible for USCIS consent. This means that they must have sought the juvenile court order to obtain relief from abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law and not primarily to obtain an immigration benefit.
There are several other factors, but as you can see this is a complex process wherein you should have an attorney to represent you in this process.
Once you have determined that you wish to continue exploring this as an option then the following should occur:
- The immigrant will go to family court, once there they will request that the court determine them as Special Immigrant Juvenile.
- Once the court has ruled in your favor then the next step is moving the case forward from the local family court level to that of the federal level with an application for SIJS also known as the I360. The government will send you a receipt that they have received your application and are working on it.
- Apply for Legal permanent Residence. You may apply either with the I360 Concurrently or you may need to wait for your Visa Bulletin Priority Date to become current before you apply. Also, if the immigrant has a deportation case they will need to address this case with the immigration court at this time or sooner.
This is the process in a nutshell. If you wish to get more information you may choose to read the next post where we will delve a bit deeper into as many of these above-listed points as possible.
You may also call the Law Office of Judith C Garcia if you wish to start a case with us.