WHAT IS A SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS (SIJS) PETITION?
A special immigrant juvenile status petition allows the most vulnerable of immigrant children to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. It is a multi step process beginning in a state level family court, followed by a petition before US Citizenship and Immigration Service and an interview with an immigration officer. In order to successfully petition for SIJS, the child must be abandoned, abused or neglected by one or both parents, have no suitable custodian in their home country, be unmarried and, if petitioning in Virginia, under 18 years old. These findings must be made initially be a state court judge and included in a custody petition and order, after which that order from the state family court is used to petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, where the child must again produce evidence to prove the elements for SIJS.