The U.S. is home to a diverse population, including many young immigrants who've faced challenges in their country of origin or within the U.S. For these youth, a legal option known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) offers a path to safety, stability, and the chance to build a brighter future.
In this post, we'll explore what SIJS status is, its requirements, the processing timeline, and how you can find assistance navigating this complex process.
What Is SIJS?
SIJS is an immigration classification that provides a pathway to legal permanent residence in the United States for undocumented immigrants under the age of 21 who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents.
SIJS offers a means for individuals under twenty-one years old to apply for and obtain the security and stability of permanent residency in the U.S. (green card). With a SIJS, minors can also apply for authorization to work.
It is important to note that getting an SIJS will not help provide immigration benefits to parents, even if you have a good relationship with them.
To be eligible for SIJS, applicants must meet specific criteria that demonstrate their need for protection and support.
SIJS applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Under 21 years old
- Currently living in the U.S.
- Unable to reunite with one or both parents due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect (per a court order from a state juvenile court).
SIJS Processing Time
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically aims to make decisions on Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) petitions within a reasonable timeframe of approximately 180 days, which is equivalent to about six months, from the official filing date.
First Steps to Apply for SIJS
The first step is to obtain a state court order, which is a prerequisite for SIJS. To accomplish this, you need to have a state court make a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) order. If you reside in California, this would be the California Superior Court.
The SIJ order necessitates the court's decision on the following matters:
- You are unable to reside with one or both of your parents due to their mistreatment, neglect, or abandonment, leaving you without proper care.
- It is not in your best interests to return to your home country or the last place where you or your parents resided.
You can apply for the SIJ order yourself or have a friend, relative, or lawyer apply on your behalf. It is crucial to emphasize that individuals who are 17 years old or older should seek assistance from an SIJS lawyer. In certain circumstances, California courts are prohibited from issuing orders once an individual reaches the age of 18.
Contact Our Team for Help
Navigating the SIJS process can be complicated and often requires the assistance of experienced professionals. If you or someone you know is seeking SIJS, our team can help guide you through the steps necessary to pursue a brighter, safer future.
At Yekrangi & Associates, our SIJS attorneys are not only genuine but also deeply committed to our clients' well-being. Our firm offers legal services in English, Mandarin, Farsi, and Spanish to assist our clients.
When you choose to work with us, you can expect to receive comprehensive guidance in assembling the necessary documentation, as well as unwavering support throughout the entire application process and beyond.
Don't wait. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first steps towards obtaining SIJS. Send us a message online or call (949) 478-4963 to get started.