Children who move to the United States from other countries typically come with their families. Sadly, some immigrant children lack stable home lives and suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of their parents. Fortunately, immigrant children who are unable to reunify with their parents can often remain in the United States via Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Obtaining SIJS is an intricate process that requires an understanding of both state law and federal immigration laws. If you need assistance pursuing SIJS, it is smart to hire an attorney to help you to ensure your petition is filed correctly. The dedicated Boston individual representation immigration attorneys of O’Neil & Hauser P.C. are mindful of the importance of SIJS in many children’s lives, and if we represent you, we will fight zealously to aid you in your pursuit of a juvenile visa. Each of our attorneys have more than twenty years of experience working in immigration, and immigration comprises over ninety percent of our practice. Our office is in Boston, and we help clients around the world with immigration issues.Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Eligibility
SIJS applications differ from most other immigration applications in that they involve both state and federal law. Specifically, if you are seeking SIJS, you must have an order issued by a United States state court that states that you are in the custody of a state agency or department, or an individual appointed by the court, or that you are a ward of the court. The order must also indicate that you cannot be reunified with one or both of your parents due to neglect, abuse, abandonment, or a similar basis and that it is not in your best interest to go back to your native country or the country where you or your parents most recently resided.
Notably, you must be eligible for United States Citizenship and Immigration service consent, which means that you have to demonstrate you sought the state court order to seek relief from the underlying harm, not so that you could seek an immigration benefit. Finally, you must also be unmarried and under 21 years old at the time you file your SIJS petition, and you must also currently live in the United States. In other words, you cannot apply to come to the United States on SIJS classification from your native country.Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
If you wish to seek SIJS classification, you must file the appropriate form along with evidence of your age, such as a passport, birth certificate, or other official document issued by a government entity. You must also submit the state court order setting forth the determinations needed to qualify for SIJS classification. Once you file the form and supporting documents, USCIS will send you a notice of action indicating it received your petition, and generally, you will receive a decision within 180 days.
If USCIS approves your SIJS petition, you will receive an approval notice; if it denies your petition, you will receive a written decision explaining why your petition was denied and how you can appeal. If your petition for SIJS is granted, you may be able to apply for a green card as well. In some instances, you may be able to file the petition for a green card at the same time as your petition for SIJS.Consult a Skillful Boston Immigration Attorney
Many young immigrants who live in the United States are unfortunately abused or abandoned, but thankfully many of them are eligible for special immigrant juvenile status. If you are interested in seeking SIJS, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. At O’Neil & Hauser P.C., our skillful Boston lawyers possess the knowledge and resources needed to obtain favorable outcomes in immigration matters, and we will work diligently to help you seek your desired result. We offer translation services in multiple languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian, French, and Arabic, and a number of our attorneys are bilingual. We also maintain memberships in the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and we have developed solid relationships with many government agencies over our years in practice. You can reach us at our Boston office through our online form or by calling (617) 426-8100 to set up a conference.