Special Immigrant Juvenile Status – SIJS
Overview: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a pathway to become a Lawful Permanent Resident that is available to minor children who are presently in the United States, who are under the age of 18, who are unmarried, and who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by a parent or both parents. The process of obtaining SIJS is arduous, and involves many stages. The attorneys at Potra Law Firm have successfully handled SIJS cases for minor children who reside in counties all across Georgia. We can help the minor child at every step of the process to ensure that his or her SIJS case has the best chance of success.
The Juvenile Court Stage: Obtaining the dependency order.
The first step in obtaining SIJS is to file a dependency petition in the juvenile court of the county in which the immigrant child lives to obtain a dependency order concluding that it is in the best interests of the child to remain in the United States. Because this process occurs in juvenile courts, the requirements to obtain the dependency order may differ by county. At this stage, the juvenile court will appoint a special lawyer for the child, known as a Guardian Ad Litem, who will work with the attorneys at Potra Law Firm to determine the best interests of the child. Determining the best interests of the child can be an invasive process for the child and the family involved. Once the dependency order is obtained from the juvenile court, the child can proceed to the next stage of the SIJS process.
The Immigration Court Stage: Terminating immigration proceedings.
If the juvenile court judge finds the child to be dependent, then we work to terminate the child’s case in immigration court, if the child is in deportation or removal proceedings. Once the child’s immigration proceedings are terminated, the child can proceed to the USCIS stage of the SIJS process.
The Adjustment of Status Stage: Obtaining an immigrant visa and becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident.
At this stage of the process, the child must file two applications with USCIS to become a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States. The first application that must be filed with USCIS is an application for an immigrant visa using Form I-360. The basis for obtaining an immigrant visa is the dependency order obtained from the juvenile court. The second application that must be submitted with USCIS is an application to become a Lawful Permanent Resident using Form I-485. Once the I-360 and I-485 applications are approved by USCIS, the child will become a Lawful Permanent Resident.