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How to Apply for SIJS Immigration

sijs immigration
sijs immigration

Children living in the US have a range of options for asylum depending on their circumstances. One such method is applying for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS). As you will see, this process is specifically designed to protect vulnerable children and give them a viable route to permanent residency in the US. Below, we explain what SIJS is, and how to apply for this status as a minor.

 

Understanding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

 

Part of successful SIJS immigration is understanding the underlying requirements, what the process is, and how it works and we explain these premises below.

Definition and Legal Basis

 

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a humanitarian immigration relief option available to immigrant children in the United States who have been subjected to abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. Established under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), SIJS Immigration aims to protect vulnerable children by providing them with legal status and a pathway to permanent residency.

Purpose and Benefits of SIJS

 

The primary purpose of SIJS is to ensure the welfare and protection of immigrant children who have experienced parental mistreatment or abandonment. By obtaining SIJS, eligible individuals gain access to various benefits, including the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency (green card), access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, and protection from deportation.

Who Qualifies for SIJS?

 

To qualify for SIJS, you must meet specific criteria set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligible applicants must be under the age of 21, unmarried, and declared dependent on a juvenile court in the United States. 

 

Additionally, you must demonstrate that reunification with one or both parents is not feasible due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that it is not in your best interest to return to your home country.

sijs requirements
sijs requirements

Eligibility Criteria for SIJS Immigration

 

To determine eligibility for SIJS, you must satisfy certain requirements outlined by USCIS. These criteria include age, marital status, dependency status as declared by a juvenile court, and evidence of abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. 

 

You should also consult with an asylum attorney or accredited representative to assess your eligibility and navigate the application process effectively. Qualified asylum lawyers have experience in this specific field and understand what is required to successfully apply for special immigrant juvenile status.

Preparation for the SIJS Application

 

Preparation is crucial when applying for SIJS to ensure a smooth and successful application process. This involves:

 

– Gathering Necessary Documents and Evidence: Collect all required documentation, including birth certificates, court orders, medical records, and affidavits, to support your SIJS Immigration petition.

 

– Obtaining Findings from Juvenile Court: Obtain a court order from a juvenile court declaring dependency or custody and affirming that reunification with one or both parents is not viable.

 

– Understanding SIJS Forms and Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the USCIS forms and requirements for filing the SIJS Immigration petition to facilitate the application process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for SIJS Immigration

 

The special immigration juvenile status process follows a set path with slight variances depending on the need for biometrics appointments and interviews and we have detailed this process below.

1. Filing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant

 

The starting point is to complete and submit Form I-360 along with supporting documentation to USCIS. This form starts the process and allows you to obtain an SIJS Immigration order where the court decides that you cannot live with one or both of your parents and that it is not in your best interest to return to your home country or the last place your parents lived.

2. Submitting Supporting Documents and Evidence

 

Along with the form, you should Include all necessary documentation, such as court orders, birth certificates, and affidavits, to substantiate your SIJS petition. An asylum lawyer can provide guidance as to which supporting evidence is required and help you build a strong case for your SIJS approval.

3. Paying Filing Fees or Requesting a Fee Waiver

 

Pay the required filing fees or request a fee waiver if unable to afford the application fees. Currently, the filing fee for Form I-360 has been eliminated, but there may be a $85 cost for the biometrics appointment if you have to attend one.

4. Attending Biometrics Appointment

 

You may have to schedule and attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures for background checks. This is situational and it depends on what biometric information is already available about you to the US government.

 

5. Attending Interviews

 

You may also have to participate in any interviews scheduled by USCIS to review your SIJS application and verify the information provided. Like the biometrics appointment, this doesn’t always happen and it depends on the supporting evidence provided initially and how strong your case is. An Asylum attorney can guide you through the interview and provide legal representation.

special immigrant juvenile status
special immigrant juvenile status

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

 

While applying for SIJS, you may encounter challenges such as insufficient evidence, delays in court proceedings, or difficulty obtaining required documentation. 

 

To overcome these challenges, it is advisable to seek assistance from an experienced asylum attorney or accredited representative who can provide guidance and support throughout the application process.

Tips for a Successful SIJS Application

 

– Seek Legal Representation: Consult with a qualified asylum lawyer or accredited representative specializing in SIJS Immigration cases to ensure that your application is prepared accurately and submitted correctly.

 

– Maintain Accurate Records: Keep organized records of all documentation, court orders, and correspondence related to your SIJS application to facilitate the process and address any inquiries from USCIS promptly.

 

– Follow Instructions Carefully: Adhere to USCIS guidelines and instructions when completing forms and submitting supporting documents to avoid delays or complications.

 

– Form completion: Double-check any forms you have to complete such as Form I-360 and make sure all relevant fields are completed.

 

– Maintain communication: If any additional information is requested from USCIS officers, reply promptly and maintain a consistent line of communication to avoid delays.

Resources and Support for SIJS Applicants

 

Various organizations and resources are available to assist SIJS Immigration applicants, including legal aid clinics, immigrant advocacy groups, and pro bono attorneys. These resources offer valuable support, guidance, and representation to navigate the SIJS application process effectively. To get you started, we have compiled a list of useful resources below:

 

Prepare for Your SIJS Application Today in the Right Way with Asylum lawyer

 

Applying for SIJS Immigration is a complex and multifaceted process, but with careful preparation, diligent documentation, and the assistance of an asylum attorney, you can successfully obtain legal status and protection in the United States. 

 

By understanding the requirements, seeking appropriate support, and following the prescribed steps, you can navigate the SIJS Immigration system with confidence and hope for a positive outcome.

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