What Is A Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa?

The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a means to obtain status in the United States by way of a green card. Specifically, this avenue provides status for foreign children in the United States who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. In order to apply for this status, a Form I-360 must be filed.

In order to qualify for this relief, you must have a state court order that declares that the child is a dependent of the Court. In the alternative, the child can be placed in a state agency, private agency or a private person. The Court must also find that it is not in the child’s best interest to return to his/her home country (or the last country of residence) and that the child cannot be reunited with a parent because of abuse, abandonment, neglect or any similar reason under state law.

With regard to requirements, a child must be under 21 when the Form I-360 is filed. Furthermore, the same Court Order noted above must also be in effect when the Form I-360 is filed. Finally, the child must be in the United States when the filing is made and cannot be married.

Once the visa is granted, the child is eligible to apply for a green card. With a green card obtained through the SIJ visa, the applicant will be allowed to live and work in the United States permanently. However, it should be noted that receiving a green card by way of the SIJ Program bars the recipient from petitioning for a green card for his/her parents, brothers or sisters.

If you have any questions regarding your Special Immigrant Juvenile status, please contact Steven Bedoya at sbedoya@bhlfirm.com.