Young people under age 21 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This status can serve as a pathway to lawful permanent residence (a green card), and eventually to citizenship.
Before you can apply for SIJS, you must first be placed under the legal custody of an adult by a Colorado State Court. The court must also confirm that you cannot live with one or both of your parents, and that it would not be in your best interests to return to your country of origin. Common ways that young people come under the State Court’s jurisdiction are through guardianship, child custody (known as “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Colorado), and juvenile delinquency cases. Colorado law has a very broad idea of what it means to be “abused, abandoned, or neglected,” so even if you have a good relationship with both of your parents, you may still be eligible for SIJS.
After the State Court has held a hearing and confirmed that you are eligible, the next step is applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Youth from certain countries (including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico) must wait their turn to file for permanent residence, but youth from many other countries can apply for both SIJS and permanent residence at the same time. Because it can take a very long time to win Special immigrant Juvenile Status, it is important to start your case as soon as possible.
One drawback to Special immigrant Juvenile Status is that if you win, you will never be able to file a family-based petition for either of your parents, even if you have only been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one of your parents.
Maris Immigration Law has successfully represented youth and their parents in SIJS cases in counties all across Colorado. If you are under 21 years old, and not currently living with both of your parents, or if you know a young person who fits that description, please schedule a consultation with our office today.
We can guide you through this complicated process. To learn more, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.
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