Who qualifies for special immigrant juvenile status?

There are so many cogs in the Immigration machine that it’s hard to track. This article reviews who qualifies for special immigrant juvenile status. There are many benefits to securing this status, not the least of which is having certain types of inadmissible waived, including

  • Working without authorization
  • Unlawful entry
  • Some immigration violations
  • Status as a public charge’

In working with an agency like Voloshen Law, you have experience on your side. We will help you obtain the SIJS status, after which you can begin working toward a green card. In the meanwhile, work authorization is available. 

The Process

SIJS status begins in the Family or Surrogate Court (in the county of residence). Guardianship is the most common way to work through the “special findings order.” There are, however, instances where the special findings show neglect, adoption, or foster care.

Moving forward, some of the documents we at Voloshen Law need as your representative include

  • Court order showing the child is under the court’s jurisdiction.
  • Proof the child cannot return to both or one parent.
  • A copy of their passport from their country of origin. This can prove tricky because parents must consent for minors to obtain the passport. In this case, it’s time to seek a court order for the passport (another reason to have a full-service immigration lawyer helping).
  • Birth certificate (a certified copy is best)
  • Four passport-sized photos
  • If in foster care, a letter of indigency 
  • A sealed medical exam

These documents are then filed formally.

What are the Qualifications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

According to the USCIS Policy Manual (Volume 6, part J), a person must meet the following qualifications to proceed:

  • Under the age of 21
  • Currently residing in the US
  • Have a single status (this includes those with annulled marriages, divorces, or the case of death).
  • Inability to reunite with both or one parent due to abuse or neglect
  • Being in a state agency or a dependent on the court
  • Returning to the country of origin is not in the best interest of the juvenile
  • Have eligibility for USCIS consent

How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?

The SIJS system limits the number of green cards given to young immigrants per country per year. Depending on the situation, applicants can apply for SIJS along with their green card. Others will have to wait, and there is no predictability regarding when those numbers will change.

Monthly the SIJS issues a Visa Bulletin. It shows visa abilities in various categories. For one, it shows a priority date (effectively, where a person is in the line of applicants). Thankfully for those under the change of 21, there is no backlog of green card issuance.

Obtaining Representation

Our job at Voloshen Law is to pay attention to all the changes occurring in SIJS requirements and eligibility. We can help someone or their advocate navigate the sea of paperwork and telephone calls. If you’d like more information, you can use our online contact form HERE. You can also call our Huntingdon Valley, PA office at 215-437-7854.


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