Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, also known as SIJS, is a unique form of immigration classification reserved for foreign nationals under the age of 21. This status is specifically meant for immigrants that were neglected, abused, mistreated, or abandoned by their parents.
SIJS status provides a safe path to citizenship for many qualifying applicants, but Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strictly enforces the eligibility criteria. Thankfully, a dedicated immigration attorney could help a young migrant determine whether this program is right for them. A Birmingham Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) lawyer could figure out if you are eligible and help resolve any complications that arise during the resulting legal processes.
In order for an immigrant to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States through SIJS, they must meet a series of legal requirements. Failing to meet even one of these criteria could result in the denial of an application.
There is an age requirement that applies to all SIJS applicants. While this immigration protection is mostly intended to safeguard juveniles, a person can apply as long as they are under 21.
Anyone interested in SIJs protection must be unmarried. Failure to meet this specific requirement could quickly disqualify an immigrant’s petition, even if they fit in all the remaining criteria.
Regardless of the age of the applicant, a juvenile court must label them as a defendant to someone else. A family court cannot take jurisdiction of these cases for anyone who is not declared a juvenile and legally dependent on others.
In order to qualify for SIJS, an applicant must demonstrate that being reunited with their parents is not an option. For example, a potential immigrant must prove that reunification is impossible due to abandonment, abuse, neglect, or some other form of mistreatment.
Finally, the minor must establish it is not in their best interest to return to their country of origin or previous nation of residence. For example, facing persecution would classify as a potential danger that would make a young individual eligible for protection through SIJS.
A compassionate attorney in Birmingham understands all these qualifying criteria and could help a young foreign national demonstrate that they are eligible for special immigrant juvenile protection.
Even though the federal government mostly oversees immigration matters, the process for acquiring SIJS protection usually begins in a state court. For instance, a local jurisdiction is typically the body that accepts a case and examines an immigrant’s eligibility criteria.
After a state court analyzes a juvenile’s initial request, the immigrant can submit a formal SIJS petition to the federal government. USCIS oversees this process and has the authority to examine, grant, or deny an application.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that USCIS will accept someone’s special immigrant juvenile status application. However, a tenacious attorney in Birmingham could help a young immigrant navigate the process and avoid mistakes.
Special immigrant juvenile status is reserved for minors who have faced extreme hardship, such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment, while living with their family. Securing SIJS could ease those hardships and grant a young person a new life here in the U.S.
It is best to handle these applications with experienced representation, and a Birmingham Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) lawyer could help you get through all stages of acquiring this protection. Call the office today to schedule your initial consultation.