Manhattan Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Lawyers
Sound Counsel for Petitioners Seeking Juvenile Visas in New York
At the Law Office of Patricia M. Machado, P.C., our firm is dedicated to helping immigrants and their loved ones make their American dream a reality. From complex eligibility restrictions to processing delays, we understand the heavy financial and emotional tolls that U.S. immigration processes can take on foreign-born individuals and families, especially when there are children involved.
Our firm goes the extra mile to keep clients informed and up-to-date by equipping them with the necessary resources to make informed decisions. With decades of experience, our team has extensive knowledge of special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) and other pathways to U.S. citizenship, allowing us to guide our clients’ steps with care and integrity.
U.S. immigration law can be complex and confusing. Our Manhattan attorneys can guide your steps wisely. Call (646) 355-1560 to schedule a confidential consultation.
What Is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)?
When it comes to assistance for undocumented minors, petitioning for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) can improve the lives of foreign-born children. Although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers limited pathways to citizenship, SIJ status is designed to help undocumented kids under the age of 21 obtain lawful permanent residence in America.
Keep in mind that SIJS classification is specifically geared toward undocumented children who have suffered abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. Working with a trusted SIJS attorney is paramount to qualify for a juvenile visa.
Advantages of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
There are many benefits to special immigrant juvenile status. Some common advantages of juvenile visas include:
- Lawful permanent residency in the U.S.: Seeking a juvenile visa can allow minors to pursue lawful permanent residence in America by obtaining their green card, even if they did not enter the U.S. through lawful channels.
- Employment authorization: Obtaining special immigrant juvenile status can grant employment authorization, opening the door to economic freedom and increased independence for young people.
- Limited financial requirements: Unlike other paths to U.S. residency, obtaining a juvenile visa doesn’t require petitioners to provide evidence of adequate financial support from family or guardians.
- Deportation protection: Often, children who qualify for SIJS are involved in deportation proceedings. Getting approved for a juvenile visa can protect minors from removal proceedings and offer them the opportunity they deserve to build a new life for themselves in America.
- The opportunity for waived fees: Green card application fees are generally waived for minors applying for special immigrant juvenile status, alleviating financial burdens on undocumented children.
- Education opportunities: Minors with SIJ status can enjoy greater education opportunities in the U.S., empowering young petitioners to establish financial independence and create better lives for themselves and their families.
Eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
To determine eligibility for special immigrant juvenile classification, SIJS petitioners must meet certain requirements. Eligibility requirements include:
- Applicants must be under 21 years old: Eligible petitioners must be under 21 years of age at the time of filing.
- Applicants must currently reside in the U.S.: Applicants must currently reside in the U.S. at the time of application.
- Applicants must be unmarried: Petitioners must be unmarried at the time of filing. If you were previously married, the marriage must have ended in annulment, divorce, or death.
- Applicants must have a valid juvenile court order: Applicants must be dependent on the court or in the custody of a state agency, department, or court-appointed individual. They cannot be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, abandonment, neglect, or a similar basis under state law. Additionally, petitioners must show that returning to their country of nationality is not in their best interests.
- Applicants must be eligible for USCIS consent: Petitioners must have sought the juvenile court order to obtain relief from abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law rather than simply seeking SIJ status for an immigration benefit.
- Applicants must possess written consent from a qualifying department: Petitioners must have received consent from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to the court’s jurisdiction if the petitioner is 1.) currently in the custody of HHS and 2.) the juvenile court order changes the custody status or placement.
How to Petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
To obtain special immigrant juvenile status, working with a trusted SIJ attorney is imperative. Our Manhattan immigration attorneys can guide you through the legal intricacies of filing your petition, representing your best interests while helping you navigate USCIS processes and procedures.
To petition for SIJ classification, applicants must file their completed Petition for Special Immigrant Status (Form I-360) with USCIS. It's essential to include all necessary documentation to support your petition, including:
- Proof of age, such as a birth certificate, passport, or official identity document issued by a foreign government
- A valid juvenile court order supported by evidence of the factual basis for the court’s determinations
- Evidence proving that reunification with one or both parents isn’t possible due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law
- Evidence showing that it’s not in the petitioner’s best interests to return to their country of nationality
- Written consent from HHS or ORR, if applicable
Seeking Sound Counsel from a SIJS Attorney
Navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law can be daunting. Fortunately, Attorney Patricia M. Machado has a proven track record of successfully advocating for her clients. From filing your petition to appealing denials to supporting your application with the required documentation, our firm can review all the details with a practiced legal eye to ensure compliance with USCIS regulations and procedures.
Our SIJS lawyers are well-equipped to help Manhattan clients with various elements of their case, including:
- Determining eligibility: Our seasoned SIJS lawyers can assess the unique circumstances of your case to determine your potential eligibility for a juvenile visa, providing clarity on factors like age, marital status, and residency requirements.
- Preparing and filing petitions: Our firm can help petitioners prepare and file Form I-360 correctly, completely, and on time, ensuring compliance with USCIS regulations and federal law.
- Navigating legal pitfalls: U.S. immigration can be complicated and time-consuming. Our Manhattan lawyers have extensive knowledge of U.S. immigration laws to help you navigate any legal challenges or obstacles that may arise during your case.
- Appealing denials: In the event that USCIS denies your claim, our firm can help you file an appeal, guiding you throughout the process to maximize your chance of obtaining a favorable outcome.
Advocating for New York Immigrants Since 1996
Since 1996, our highly skilled immigration lawyers have protected the rights of immigrants and their families in Manhattan and beyond. Our firm works tirelessly to make USCIS proceedings as smooth and pain-free as possible for noncitizens and their loved ones by providing reliable representation and unwavering advocacy, empowering immigrants to bring their American dreams to life. From applying for family-based green cards to seeking political asylum, we have over 25 years of hard-earned experience to fight for the favorable outcome you deserve.
Preparing for an immigration dispute? Contact us online to discuss your case with a compassionate immigration lawyer in Manhattan.