Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) offers a path to permanent residence for certain children.
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.
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.
To apply for SIJS, first obtain a special findings order from a state family court. This process is complex and different in each state, so we strongly recommend consulting an immigration attorney.
Generally, this special findings order must find:
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 that it is not in your best interests to return to the country of nationality.
With a special findings order, you file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant.
Decisions on SIJS petitions are usually made within 180 days.
Once approved, you will be eligible to apply for a permanent residence by filing Form I-485, Application for Permanent Residence and supporting documentation.
A manual for minors who are based in New York state.
USCIS – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Safe Passage – Manual on the SIJS Process
Kids in Need of Defense