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Can I Apply for SIJS If One of My Parents Abandoned Me?

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As a minor immigrant who may have experienced the abandonment of one parent, you may be wondering about your eligibility to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).

It's important to know that you can indeed apply for SIJS if one or both parents have abandoned you. Continue reading to learn more about the requirements and benefits of SIJS in this blog post.

SIJS Requirements

SIJS offers a pathway for undocumented immigrant minors who have experienced parental abuse, neglect, or abandonment to potentially secure Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification. If approved, this classification qualifies you to apply for lawful permanent residency (Green Card) in the U.S.

To qualify for SIJS, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be under 21 years old
  • Be unmarried
  • Currently living in the U.S.
  • Have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both of your parents

What Are the Benefits of SIJS?

SIJS offers a multitude of benefits to eligible immigrant minors.

Benefits can include the following:

  • The opportunity to obtain a Green Card (lawful permanent residency)
  • The ability to work legally in the U.S.
  • The possibility of applying for U.S. citizenship five years after gaining lawful permanent residency

In turn, obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) provides additional benefits, such as the opportunity to pursue higher education, improve language skills through immersive experiences, and the ability to build a stable and promising future.

What Are the Disadvantages of SIJS?

While SIJS offers numerous benefits, minors should also be aware of a few potential drawbacks.

Disadvantages of SIJS include:

  • The price of obtaining SIJS can be high, including legal fees and the cost of living
  • Minors who obtain SIJS cannot sponsor parents in the future
  • Once you obtain SIJS, you must remain in the U.S. until you are a permanent resident

Despite its drawbacks, obtaining SIJS can still offer numerous advantages for immigrant minors. Navigating the process can be complex, so it's advisable to work with a knowledgeable SIJS attorney. They can guide you in identifying the most suitable path for your circumstances.

How Can I Apply for SIJS?

If you believe that you are eligible for SIJS, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Obtain a court order from a state juvenile court. This is a crucial step, as the court order will serve as proof that you have been subject to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that it is not in your best interest to return to your home country.
  • File Form I-360 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is the petition to classify you as a special immigrant juvenile.
  • If your SIJS petition is approved, file Form I-485 to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident.

It is important to be aware that the application process can be complex, and any errors made during this process may lead to delays or denials.

Moreover, if you reside in California and are 17 years of age or older, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an SIJS lawyer for assistance. In certain situations, California courts are unable to issue orders once an individual reaches the age of 18.

Contact Yekgrangi & Associates

If you are unsure about your eligibility for SIJS or need help with your application, it is in your benefit to seek the assistance of a skilled and experienced SIJS attorney. At Yekgrangi & Associates, our dedicated team of SIJS lawyers is here to listen to your unique situation and provide personalized guidance. We understand the complexities of the SIJS process and can help you navigate through it.

Our team is not only passionate about helping our clients, but we also take great pride in offering comprehensive legal support and care throughout the entire process. With our team, you can know that your SIJS application is handled with utmost professionalism and attention to detail.

To learn more, get in touch with us online by filling out our form or dialing (949) 478-4963 to set up a consultation.

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