The SIJ program was created to help foreign children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. Certain children who are unable to be reunited with a parent can get a green card through the SIJ program.
Eligibility Status for SIJ
To petition for SIJ you must have a state court order that contains certain findings that USCIS uses to determine your status. The court must have the authority under state law to decide on the custody and care of children. The state court in the United States must decide:
- To declare that the minor is dependent of the court or to legally place him or her with a state agency, a private agency, or a private person and
- It is not in the minor’s best interests to return to his or her home country (or the country he or she last lived in) and
- He or she cannot be reunited with a parent because of ANY of the following: Abuse, Abandonment, Neglect, or Similar reason under state law
Once the foreign national has received an order from the appropriate state court, he or she must apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The requirements for SIJS are:
- The state court order must be in effect on the filing date of the Form I-360 and when USCIS makes a decision on your application, unless the applicant “aged out” of the state court’s jurisdiction due to no fault of his own
- The applicant must be under 21 years old on the filing date of the Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
- The applicant cannot be married, both when he files the application and when USCIS makes a decision on the application
- The applicant must be inside the United States at the time of filing the Form I-360
Once the Special Immigrant Juveniles Status has been granted, the applicant can request a green card.
South Florida Attorney Jorge L. Delgado has helped many children who found themselves without their parents in the United States obtain the green through the SIJ program. Attorney Jorge L. Delgado has represented minors in different Florida counties in order to have the minors declared dependents of the Juvenile Court. This is the first step towards obtaining a green card.
If you need assistance with the SJIS process, contact South Florida immigration attorney Jorge L. Delgado