Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)?

    Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 101(a)(27)(J), which contains the following definition:

an immigrant who is present in the United States--

(i) who has been declared dependent on a juvenile court located in the United States or whom such a court has legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, an agency or department of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State or juvenile court located in the United States, and whose reunification with 1 or both of the immigrant's parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under State law;
(ii) for whom it has been determined in administrative or judicial proceedings that it would not be in the alien's best interest to be returned to the alien's or parent's previous country of nationality or country of last habitual residence; and
(iii) in whose case the Secretary of Homeland Security consents to the grant of special immigrant juvenile status, except that--
(I) no juvenile court has jurisdiction to determine the custody status or placement of an alien in the custody of the Secretary of Health and Human Services unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services specifically consents to such jurisdiction; and
(II) no natural parent or prior adoptive parent of any alien provided special immigrant status under this subparagraph shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this Act;

Requirements to Obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

In order to obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, t
he state juvenile court must first issue an order finding that:
    1. You are dependent on the court or is placed in the custody of an agency or person by the court
    2. You cannot be reunited with a parent because of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law
    3. It is not in your best interests to be returned to your home country

You must then file a petition with USCIS using Form I-360.  The following are the eligibility requirements:
    1. You are under 21 years old on the date of filing
    2. Your state court order must be in effect, both when your application is filed and when it is decided on by USCIS
            - If it is not in effect because you aged out of the court's jurisdiction, that is ok
    3. You are not married, both
when your application is filed and when it is decided on by USCIS
            - This includes not having had a marriage which ended due to annulment, divorce, or death.
    4. You are inside the United States when your application is filed

State Juvenile Court Experience is Essential

    As you can see, the state juvenile court is essential in obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.  It is important to have an immigration attorney who is experienced in and familiar with the state juvenile courts handle your SIJS case.  I have regularly practiced in a number of Virginia's juvenile courts.  Contact me today so that I can help you with your case.