Can I Apply for SIJS if One of My Parents Abandoned Me?
For immigrant children who have been abandoned by one or both parents, there is an opportunity to find protection and security in the United States. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a humanitarian immigration benefit aimed at protecting immigrant children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. It recognizes the unique vulnerabilities of these children and offers them a path toward lawful permanent residence in the U.S.
Who is Eligible for SIJS?
Generally speaking, SIJS provides a fairly direct route to a green card for eligible children. However, applying for SIJS involves a complex and lengthy process that should not be undertaken without legal guidance. To be eligible for SIJS, a child must meet specific criteria, including:
- The child must be under 21 years of age at the time of filing the SIJS petition.
- The child must have been declared dependent on a juvenile court in the United States or legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, an individual or state agency.
- The juvenile court must make specific findings related to abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents.
- The state laws in the jurisdiction of the juvenile court must determine that it is not in the child's best interest to be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Applying for SIJS in Cases of Parental Abandonment
If one or both of your parents has abandoned you, you may be eligible for protection through SIJS. To obtain these benefits, you must first establish dependency by seeking a court order from a juvenile court in the United States. If the court finds that you have been abandoned by your parents and determines that it is not in your best interest to be reunified with them, you can apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
If you or someone you know is seeking protection through SIJS, it is in your best interest to consult with an immigration attorney immediately. The process to apply for these benefits and obtain lawful permanent resident status is complex and even minor errors or delays can result in a denial. Your attorney will be by your side throughout the entire process and can help you:
- Obtain a dependency order from a juvenile court;
- Petition USCIS for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status;
- Adjust status to lawful permanent residence;
- Prepare for your biometrics appointment and interview with USCIS; and
- Eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates and Secure Your Future with SIJS
If you have experienced parental abandonment and are wondering if you can apply for SIJS, the answer is often yes. At Yekrangi & Associates, our experienced immigration attorneys specialize in SIJS cases and are dedicated to guiding you through each step of the process. We understand the sensitive nature of cases involving parental abandonment and strive to provide compassionate and effective legal representation to every client. Your well-being and protection are our top priorities. Contact Yekrangi & Associates today to explore your options and take the first step toward lawful permanent residence through SIJS.
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