Understanding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Protection

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is an often-misunderstood type of juvenile protection. It is a unique type of immigration remedy that takes the help of an experienced lawyer to obtain. What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Protection, and what do you need to know about it?

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Protection

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is an immigration remedy that can be utilized by immigrant children in a state juvenile system who cannot reunite with their parents because of abuse, neglect or abandonment. These children must also meet other criteria to be eligible for permanent immigration status. The process requires the use of state juvenile court, and not only federal immigration authorities. Before the case can proceed, a state judge must decide that reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to neglect, abandonment, abuse or other grounds. Before the case can proceed to a federal level, it must be accompanied by an SIJS predicate order from the state juvenile court.

How Is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Protection Different?

Congress has judged that state courts are better able to make and present findings relating to child protection and family law. As a result, they require that the state court be the first to hear the SIJS case. When you go to the state juvenile court and the judge gives their approval for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status protection, you will receive an SIJS predicate order. 

Does the State Judge Decide to Grant Lawful Immigration Status?

No. In the case of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status protection, the state court is merely deciding if the circumstances existing in the child’s life prevent reunification with one or both parents. Once the state makes its decision, the juvenile can proceed with the immigration phase of the case and take things to a federal level where lawful immigration status can be granted.

Who Is Considered a Special Immigrant Juvenile?

  • An individual who is dependent on a juvenile court or who is in custody of an agency or individual because one or both parents are unable to care for the child due to neglect, abuse or abandonment.
  • A child who continues to be dependent on care from the juvenile court.
  • A child who the court determines should not return to their country of origin as it would go against their best interest.
  • A juvenile under the age of 21.
  • A juvenile who remains unmarried throughout the immigration process.
  • A juvenile who has not committed certain crimes, like drug offenses or crimes of moral turpitude, who would otherwise be ineligible for permanent immigration status.

Help With Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Protection

If you are unsure of how to obtain SIJS protection or have other concerns about your passport or immigration status, you need a skilled lawyer. Consult with an experienced attorney like those of the Law Office of Elizabeth A. Lawrence today.

Contact Us

    Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence, LLC.
  • Address: 90 Painters Mill Road Suite 201 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
  • Phone: (443) 352-3201

  • Email: info@elawrencelaw.com

Follow Us