The Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status is designed to give lawful permanent status to children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents. In October of 2019, immigration law officials issued new decisions clarifying the eligibility requirements for an SIJ adjustment of status and what evidence USCIS requires before approving a petition. These decisions impact any child of immigrant parents in foster care hoping to achieve permanent legal status in the U.S.
New Guidance on SIJ Status Adjustments
Who Is Eligible for SIJ Visas?
Children of immigrant parents who suffer abuse, neglect, or abandonment generally don’t have legal status on their own. The SIJ program is designed to give these children lawful permanent residency if they are taken into foster care or adopted by another family. The new guidance regarding these visas is intended to ensure that these visas go to children in need and not those simply seeking permanent status.
Under the new guidelines, the petitioner must have been considered a juvenile under the laws of the state in which the order removing them from their parents was given. USCIS will also require evidence that court intervention was necessary to provide relief from abuse, neglect, or maltreatment before approving an SIJ status adjustment petition.
Previously, immigration law guidelines also required evidence that a state court had the authority to place a child with an unfit parent. The new guidance removes this requirement, which may streamline the process for children in foster care or adopted families.
Navigating the immigration system can be complex and overwhelming, especially when rules and guidelines change constantly. The attorneys at Berd & Klauss, PLLC in NYC focus exclusively on immigration law and pride themselves on providing advice and legal assistance based on the most recent developments. Follow their Twitter for more immigration law updates, and call (212) 461-7152 or visit their website for help with your SIJ petition.