Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) allows certain undocumented children to become lawful permanent residents.
A child can apply for SIJS if all of the following criteria are met:
- The child is present in the United States;
- The child is unmarried and under 21-years-old;
- A court declares the child a dependent of the court or places the child under the custody of a state agency, or individual appointed by the state;
- A court finds that reunification of the child with one or both of the child’s parents is not possible due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment;
- A court finds that it is not the child’s best interest to return to his or her home country.
Notably, the child may still be eligible for SIJS even if the court finds that reunification with one parent may be possible.
To apply for SIJS, the child must submit Form I-360 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with the relevant necessary documentation.
A child who is eligible for SIJS can apply to adjust status any time before his or her 21st birthday as long as the child remains unmarried and the court’s dependency order is still in force. Generally, however, the application to adjust status (Form I-485) is submitted at the same time as the I-360 application for SIJS.
An individual who obtained permanent residence through SIJS cannot petition to immigrate his or her natural parents or any prior adoptive parent.
Wilson Law Group has advocated for countless of undocumented children in obtaining immigration benefits, including SIJS. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding your particular legal concern in a consultation at our office.