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SIJS -Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. > Chhabra, Gibbs & Trehan, PLLC  > CG Immigration Practice Areas > SIJS -Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Our Mississippi Immigration Legal Team will assist in your SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status) or Juvenile Visa process. We will work with you during this process with UCIS

Do I qualify for SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status)?

It is best to have an interview with an attorney to decide whether you qualify. The basic qualifications for SIJS are:

  • You are under 21
  • You are not married
  • You also have an order from a juvenile court confirming that you cannot live with one or both of your parents because of abuse, abandonment, or neglect
  • An attorney can help you determine if you are eligible.

How do I get an order from the Juvenile Court?

If you already have a juvenile court case and are in foster care or on juvenile probation, you may be able to get the order in that court. If you do not have a juvenile court case, you may need to seek a legal guardianship if you are not living with your parents. CG Immigration Team may be able to help you seek a Legal Guardianship. If you are living with one parent but have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by your other parent, your parent who you are living with can seek legal custody of you in family court and ask the court to make the SIJS findings.

After I get an order from the Juvenile Court, how do I apply for SIJS?

Once you get the juvenile court order, your attorney can help you to prepare and file the application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Your attorney will have to do an interview with you to make sure that you qualify for SIJS and that you are eligible for the visa and for permanent residency. If you have ever been arrested or had interaction with the police (for example if you have been stopped and questioned by the police, or if you might be identified by the police as a gang member) it is important to talk about that with your attorney.

Can I work if I have SIJS?

After you file an application for permanent residency, you can also apply for employment authorization (a work permit). If you do not have immigration court, you may be able to file this at the same time you file your SIJS application. If you do have immigration court, you may have to file in two stages, so it may take longer to get your work permit. Your green card also serves as proof that you are authorized to work in the U.S., so once you get your green card you no longer need a separate work permit. If you are under 18, you are required to attend school so there are limits to how much you are allowed to work and you must seek a school based work permit from your school (in addition to your immigration work permit) to be able to work.

Can I travel if I have SIJS?

Once you get your permanent residency approved, you are authorized to travel. You can travel outside of the U.S. and even return to your home country but it is important not to travel for a long time because permanent residency is only for people who are residing or living in the U.S., so if you are gone too long, immigration may decide that you are actually not living here anymore. If you are a minor, you may need permission from your parents or legal guardian in order to travel. You will also need a passport from your home country. In general, if you travel for more than six months there may be complications and if you travel for more than one year you might lose your permanent residence status. If you think you will be out of the U.S. for a long time (longer than a month or two) you should talk to an attorney before you go to make sure it won’t affect your lawful permanent residency status.

What do I need to travel once I’m a permanent resident?

In order to travel, you will need to bring your green card and the passport from your home country. If you are going to a country other than the country that you are from, you will need to see if that country requires citizens of your home country to get a visa (for example, if you are from Mexico and wish to go on a trip to Canada, you will need to see if Canada requires Mexican citizens to seek a tourist visa before entering). You can often find the information about what visas a country requires for people of different nationalities by searching on the country’s state department or embassy website. It is also important to be aware of what requirements your home country may have for you to return to the U.S. We have heard that some countries like Honduras may require permission from parents for youth under age 21 to leave the country and return to the U.S., even if the youth is a permanent resident in the U.S.

Additional Immigration that we can assist with are Green Cards for DACA & TPS holders, I-130 with Provisional Waiver, Obtaining Green Cards Through Marriage, Parents of US Citizens, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, Same Sex Marriage, and Sibling Immigration.

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