- Be under 21 years of age at the time you file the SIJ petition with USCIS;
- Be unmarried;
- Have a valid juvenile court order issued by a state court in the United States which finds that:
- You are dependent on the court, or in the custody of a state agency or department or an individual or entity appointed by the court.
- You cannot be reunified with one or both of your parents because of ANY of the following:
- Neglect or
- A similar basis under state law;
- AND It is not in your best interests to return to the country of nationality or last habitual residence of you or your parents.
Obtaining SIJS is a two-step process. First, you must obtain an order from a state juvenile court before your 18th birthday which finds that you have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both of your parents and, for that reason, it is not in your best interest to return to your home country. Second, you must submit this order to USCIS, along with an I-360 petition for SIJS, before your 21st birthday. At that point, USCIS will determine whether to grant or deny your petition. If granted, you will be eligible to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
If you are under the age of 18 and are residing in the United States without one or both of your parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect, call us to explore the possibility of obtaining this special benefit designed specifically for minor children.