Atlanta Juvenile Immigration Lawyer
While the immigration system is primarily focused on allowing adults to enter and remain in the United States, it is important to remember that children many children navigate this process annually. While a minor is not eligible for most types of visas or immigration statuses, it is still helpful for a juvenile to have legal guidance as they navigate their proceedings with USCIS.
Whether a minor is seeking a green card or fighting deportation, they could work with an Atlanta juvenile immigration lawyer to protect their best interests and maximize the potential of their case. A dedicated immigration attorney could assess the young person’s circumstances, answer questions about the most productive next steps, and help resolve any roadblocks that arise along the way.
Can a Minor Apply for a Green Card?
In most cases, Federal Law does not allow minors to seek lawful permanent residency in the U.S. on their own. Anyone under 18 is typically not a viable candidate for a green card.
However, there are many ways a child could secure legal immigration status in the U.S, especially when they have the support of a parent or guardian. For example, a parent that comes to the U.S. on a work visa might be able to sponsor their spouse and children for visas as well. Alternatively, anyone eligible for asylum status can also request the same status for their children. Additionally, eligible adults can often sponsor minors for a green card. A juvenile immigration attorney in Atlanta could provide insight into those options during an initial consultation.
What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
Not every child has a parent or guardian to speak for them, let alone act as their sponsor for immigration purposes. Since 1990, federal law has provided a type of legal status to certain undocumented children, known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS, offers these minor children a potential path towards a green card or citizenship. This option is available in cases where other visas might not apply.
Unfortunately, there are limitations on who qualifies for SIJS. According to federal law, this program is mainly meant for children facing abandonment, abuse, or neglect. Children who do not meet these requirements might have trouble securing SIJS.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is also an option for unaccompanied minors that come to the country on their own. In these cases, there is no need to show that the juvenile has experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment at the hands of their parents or guardians.
Anyone applying for SIJS has to be under the age of 21 and unmarried at the time of his or her petition. Additionally, an applicant needs to be physically present in the United States to submit his or her application. Finally, a juvenile applicant must demonstrate he or she unable to reunify with his or her family due to abandonment, abuse, or neglect. A juvenile immigration lawyer in Atlanta could help a minor ensure he or she meets these requirements.
Call an Atlanta Juvenile Immigration Attorney Today
Navigating the immigration system can be intimidating for anyone—especially a minor. While the SIJS program could offer a path to a green card, pursuing one alone is a risky plan.
If you need help sponsoring a minor or navigating the application process as a young foreign national, let an Atlanta juvenile immigration lawyer guide you. Reach out today to get started.