Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) offers a path to permanent residence for certain children who have been neglected, abused, abandoned, or orphaned.
Applying for SIJS is a complex process that varies by state; we recommend working with an immigration attorney if you choose to apply for this status.
Unmarried children under 21 (18 in some states) who have been neglected, abused, abandoned by a parent, or whose parent has died are eligible for SIJS.
SIJS is a complicated process, we strongly urge you to consult and work with an immigration attorney immigration attorney if you think you or a family member may be eligible.
Obtain a special findings order from a state family court. This process is complex and different in each state, so consulting an immigration attorney is recommended.
Generally, this special findings order must show:
- you are a dependent of the court, or in the custody of a state agency or an entity appointed by the court;
- you cannot be reunified with at least one of your parents because of abuse, abandonment by or death of a parent, neglect or a similar basis; and
- it is not in your best interests to return to the country of nationality.
With a special findings order, file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
Decisions on SIJS petitions are usually made within 180 days.
If you receive approval, you will be eligible to apply for a permanent residence by filing Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence and supporting documentation.