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Special Immigration Juvenile Status

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U.S. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Attorney

What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or SIJS is an immigration benefit available to certain undocumented immigrant youths who are under 21 years of age, unmarried and who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by one or both parents. 

SIJS is a pathway to legal permanent resident status for the minor where the minor is first granted protection from deportation and later opens the opportunity for the minor to apply for legal permanent resident status.

To learn more, click above for a FREE consultation with the U.S. immigration attorneys of Aftalion Law Group.

Applications for Minors

How Does the Minor Apply?

Before filing anything with the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services, (USCIS), an adult must petition for either guardianship or custody of the minor before a state court that has jurisdiction over the petition and the minor.  Working with an Immigrant Attorney’s office can help ease the process as well. 

In addition to obtaining either a guardianship or custody order from the court, it is crucial to also obtain a predicate order from the judge articulating the following special findings:

  • That the minor is under 21,
  • That the minor is unmarried,
  • That the minor is dependent on a juvenile court or placed in the custody of an individual/entity, agency or juvenile court,
  • That reunification with one or both parents was not viable due to abuse, abandonment, neglect or similar basis under state law and
  • That it is not in the best interest of the minor to return to the country of origin.


Note that merely obtaining the guardianship or custody order is not sufficient to apply for SIJS relief and therefore the predicate order with special findings is a necessary requirement to qualify. 

Once the state court orders are obtained, a petition can be filed before USCIS for SIJS protection. After the petition is approved, the subsequent application for the green card can be filed once the priority date of the petition is current.

Fill out the I-360 petition form and include the guardianship appointment and special findings orders granted from the Family Court, and your birth certificate with a certified translation.

This form is then submitted to USCIS. A receipt notice then follows within a month of submitting the petition.

A response from USCIS depends on which processing center it is mailed to; the times of wait can range from 4 to 11 months for adjudication.

SIJS Benefits

What are The Benefits of SIJS?
  • Unlawful entry is waived.
  • Once the SIJS application is approved, you’re eligible to apply for a work authorization document, under the deferred action plan.
  • Pathway to legal permanent residency, this benefit is only available once the priority date is current. The Department of State identifies which country and date are the ‘priority’

To learn more, click above for a FREE consultation with the U.S. immigration attorneys of Aftalion Law Group.

SIJS Disadvantages

What are the Disadvantages of SIJS?
  • One cannot leave the United States while under this status, you are automatically disqualified if you depart the United States. This means you cannot travel outside the United States until you are a Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) holder.
  • You are barred from ever petitioning for your parents to obtain Legal Permanent Residency (LPR).

SIJS Deferred Action Plan:

What is The SIJS Deferred Action Plan?

On March 7, 2022, USCIS announced a new policy that would benefit a person that has an approved SIJS petition.

The policy is a form of prosecutorial discretion, which includes the temporary protection from deportation. This action mostly benefits those in the backlog waiting for their priority date to become current.

The policy now grants work authorizations for a valid period of 4 years. The authorization can be granted while you wait for your turn to apply for Legal Permanent Residency.

To learn more, click above for a FREE consultation with the U.S. immigration attorneys of Aftalion Law Group.