Immigration laws don’t just focus on employment and family relationships. They also offer humanitarian aid to vulnerable immigrants. While most people are familiar with refugees and asylum seekers, you may not be aware that U.S. immigration also offers protection to children who are abused or abandoned and depend on the state for protection. To learn more about special immigrant juvenile status, contact the immigration lawyers at Solano Law Firm.
What Is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
Congress established special immigrant juvenile status (“SIJS”) in 1990. This program gives children who faced abuse, are unaccompanied minors, and other vulnerable, young immigrants with the right to remain in the United States and apply for legal permanent residency.
Typically, the vulnerable child or young person applies for special immigrant juvenile status with help from a child welfare worker, an immigration lawyer, and other professionals that understand state and federal child protection laws.
At Solano Law Firm, we assist vulnerable, young immigrants with their immigration journeys. When you work with our team, you’ll get practical advice, detailed legal analysis, and emotional support during a stressful time. We understand the complexities of these claims and will work with both child welfare agencies and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — advocating on your behalf at every step.
To request a free, confidential assessment of your immigration options, contact us today.
Who Is Eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
To be eligible for special immigrant juvenile status, a young person must show that they are:
- Under 21 years old at the time of filing and unmarried;
- Physically present in the United States;
- Under a juvenile court order;
- In the custody of a state or federal organization, such as a child welfare agency or the Office of Refugee Resettlement;
- Unable to reunify with the family due to a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment; and
- Unable to return to their home country.
You will need to provide documentation, including court documents, proving that you meet each and every one of these requirements. Many unaccompanied minors who come to the United States without one or both parents qualify for SIJS. To qualify for SIJS, it is not necessary that the minor was previously abused by the parents. We are often able to show the minor was neglected and or abandoned because the minor was sent alone to live in the United States and the minor’s parents were unable to provide basic food and shelter for the minor in his or her home country.
If you’re unsure whether you or a loved one qualify for special immigrant juvenile status, contact Solano Law Firm immediately. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers will assess your circumstances, educate you about your immigration options, and can guide you through the immigration process.
How Do I Apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?
Not every child and young person is eligible for this immigration status. You need to prove that you suffered abuse, either in your home country or in the United States. In addition, you need to prove that you have been placed under the protection of a state or federal agency. Once you and your immigration lawyer compile all of your evidence, you will need to submit a series of forms and other information to USCIS.
Your application for special immigrant juvenile status must include:
- Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360);
- Proof of your age and an English translation of your documents; and
- A qualifying juvenile court order from where you live.
Once you submit all of this information, USCIS will evaluate your request for special immigrant juvenile status and may ask you for additional information. You may also need to participate in interviews, a medical exam later, and give USCIS copies of your fingerprints and other biometric information.
If USICS approves your request, you can start the process of applying for your green card. If you are denied, you should discuss an appeal and other options with your immigration lawyer.
To obtain legal permanent residency, you will have to complete an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) and meet additional eligibility criteria. If you need help adjusting your immigration status, contact Solano Law Firm today. Our team can help you understand your legal rights as well as create an immigration strategy.
Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?
It’s not easy to apply and qualify for special immigrant juvenile status. Typically, young immigrants work with a team of professionals that include their caseworker at a child welfare organization, an immigration lawyer, and other professionals.
A common challenge in these cases is lack of detail in the juvenile court order. USCIS sets strict requirements for “qualifying juvenile court orders.” It also expects a thorough discussion of your eligibility for the special immigrant juvenile program within the document. Unless your child welfare advocates understand these requirements, you may face delays and difficulties with your application.
At Solano Law Firm, we assist child welfare agencies and vulnerable children with special immigrant juvenile status petitions. We have offices in Atlanta, Birmingham, and Tampa. Our immigration lawyers are passionate about humanitarian immigration and the protection of vulnerable immigrant children.
Learn More About Special Immigrant Juvenile Status With Solano Law Firm
If you need help petitioning USCIS for special immigrant juvenile status, contact Solano Law Firm today. Our attorneys and immigration professionals have significant experience fighting for young people and would love to hear more about your situation. Solano Law Firm’s team speaks both Spanish and English — and many of our team members are immigrants or first-generation Americans. We understand your struggle and concerns and want to help.