Immigrating to the United States can be challenging, particularly for children who have been mistreated or abused and need a place of safety and stability. Fortunately, Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status provides a lifeline for individuals seeking protection and permanent residency in the US. SIJ status is available to eligible minors who have been abused, neglected or abandoned in their home country. In this blog post, we will delve into what Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status is, the eligibility requirements and application procedure, along with the benefits of this status and how an immigration lawyer can help.
Eligibility Requirements for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status
To qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, a minor must meet several conditions:
- The applicant must be below 21 years of age and unmarried when filing the petition for SIJ status.
- The minor must be declared as a dependent on a juvenile court or a state agency for abuse, neglect, or abandonment in the home country.
- The court must have decided that it is not in the child's best interests to be returned to their home country.
Application Process for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status
The application for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status comprises three parts. The first part involves a court order from the juvenile court or a state child welfare agency granting dependency to the child and establishing that reunification with one or both parents is impossible. The second part is the visa petition, which must be filed with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The final stage is the adjustment of status, where the minor must apply for lawful permanent residency using form I-485.
Benefits of Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status comes with several benefits. The most significant is that it provides eligible minors with a pathway to permanent residency in the US. Additionally, it enables successful applicants to work and enroll in schools in the US legally.
SIJ status also allows holders to travel outside the country and re-enter without losing their immigration status. Moreover, once an immigrant gains lawful permanent residence, they can apply for citizenship after meeting the required residency and naturalization eligibility criteria.
How Circling Eagle Law's Immigration Lawyers Can Help
Navigating the immigration laws and procedures related to Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status can be challenging without the assistance of a skilled immigration attorney. An immigration lawyer can help by providing legal guidance and representation to ensure the applicant meets the eligibility requirements, gathers the necessary paperwork, and files the SIJ petition with the USCIS. Additionally, an attorney can represent the applicant in the juvenile court proceedings required to determine SIJ eligibility.
Contact Our Immigration Attorneys
Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status provides a unique opportunity for minors to escape abuse, neglect or abandonment in their home country while obtaining permanent residency and a safe haven in the US.
If you know a minor who may qualify for SIJ status, it is essential to seek legal assistance from our experienced immigration lawyers at Circling Eagle Law to guide you through the process. The knowledgeable lawyers in our firm specialize in various immigration matters, including SIJ status. They will tirelessly help you or your loved one attain the protection and path to a bright future. (701) 401-7404