Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Immigration Attorney Luis Ruiz

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Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Lawyer

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) understands that there are unique situations that warrant unique solutions. Unaccompanied minors often enter the United States seeking refuge after being victims of criminal activity such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment, oftentimes at the hands of their own parents.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a special immigration status that is for juveniles who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected at the hands of one or both parents. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a path to legal status, first through lawful permanent residency, and after 5 years, U.S. Citizenship.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Requirements

In order to qualify, the juvenile must

  • Be under 21 years of age
  • Be living in the United States
  • Be unmarried
  • Have a state court order from a juvenile court

Juvenile Court Order

In order to qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, the minor child or minor children will need to have a court order from a state court with jurisdiction over the juvenile, stating that the special immigrant juvenile is dependent on the court, a state agency, or an individual appointed by the court and that they cannot be reunified with one or both of their parents because of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or any similar basis under state law, and that it would be in the best interest of the special immigrant juvenile to NOT return to their home country.

A juvenile court will always act in the best interest of the child, this is why immigration officials defer to these judicial determinations when undertaking the Special Immigrant Juvenile petition process. It is important that the juvenile court issuing the court order makes specific findings as to the abuse, neglect, or abandonment that the child has suffered at the hands of one or both parents.

Common Problems

Many children qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status under federal immigration law but fail to apply because of a lack of knowledge over the program.

  1. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status only requires that you were abused, abandoned, or neglected by ONE parent, not both!
  2. Although Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is an option for anyone who is under the age of 21, a state court, family court, and juvenile court may only have jurisdiction over a child until the age of 18. So, although a 19-year-old can qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, they may face an uphill battle in trying to obtain a state court, family court, or juvenile court order if state law does not allow the court to exercise jurisdiction over people over the age of 18.
  3. A special immigrant juvenile granted immigration status through this program will never be able to petition for any of his parents.

Finding The Right Immigration Lawyer

Our office is dedicated to helping immigrants in the United States obtain relief from immigration court deportation proceedings and to help the undocumented community obtain lawful immigration status in this country. Children are some of the most vulnerable amongst us, our office understands that and we are ready to work together with a juvenile court, state law, and federal immigration law to help with the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petition process.

Once a child is granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, they will be eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, and then, a U.S. citizen. Our office has the experience to help with all of these processes, we focus exclusively on immigration law and all of our attorneys are highly experienced, detail-oriented, and most importantly, passionate about helping you obtain lawful status in the United States.

Whether you are in immigration court proceedings or if you are seeking to obtain lawful status reach out to our office, our immigration lawyers are ready to give you the legal advice you need to be able to begin the next chapter of your life, free from the fear of being undocumented in the United States.

LUIS RUIZ, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY

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