The immigration process can be stressful for anyone, but it is especially hard for minors. Because of the challenges that come with the process, the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney could be invaluable to a child seeking permanent residence in the United States.
For many juveniles, the best immigration option available is a process known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS provides an avenue to lawful permanent residency for children that are victims of abandonment or abuse. A Naperville juvenile immigration lawyer could assist with the process of pursuing an SIJS application.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress established SIJS to provide protection to juveniles that have faced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The program also applies to unaccompanied minors entering the United States on their own. SIJS allows these children to pursue legal permanent residency under specific circumstances.
Not all juveniles are eligible for SIJS. An applicant must be younger than the age of 21 and unmarried at the time they file their application. Additionally, only individuals physically present in the U.S. may apply. The applicant must also be in the custody of a federal or state agency. Often, this is the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
To qualify for SIJS, an applicant must be unable to reunify with their family. This inability must stem from neglect, abandonment, or abuse. They must also establish that returning to their home country is not an option.
It is the applicant’s burden to establish they meet these requirements. Doing so requires documentation, including birth records and court documents. A dedicated local attorney could assist a juvenile with the immigration process and help file all the necessary documents.
The process of applying for SIJS is comprehensive and designed to weed out individuals that do not meet the basic requirements outlined by federal law. A Naperville attorney could provide crucial assistance to a underage immigrant throughout the application process and help improve their chances of success.
Applying for SIJS begins with an application. Along with this application, a juvenile must include the documentation necessary to establish that they meet the requirements for SIJS. This includes proof that the juvenile is currently under the care of a government agency.
In addition to the application, a juvenile must also provide form I-360, also known as a special immigrant green card petition. Unlike in most cases, special immigrant juveniles do not have to pay the fee associated with the filing of this form.
If a juvenile is granted SIJS, they have the right to seek permanent residency. This involves an adjustment of status, which occurs when an immigrant already within the borders of the United States seeks to exchange one legal status for another. An experienced lawyer in Naperville could provide a juvenile with the resources they need to prepare their application and obtain SJIS.
If you or a juvenile in your life are seeking a green card through SIJS, an attorney could be a valuable ally. Your legal counsel could help ensure you meet all of the requirements and provide all of the necessary documentation.
Before you file your application, let a Naperville juvenile immigration lawyer prepare you for the process. Call as soon as possible to get started.