Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (or “SIJS” or “Juvenile Visa”) allows some children and youth to get lawful permanent residency (a “green card”) when they cannot live with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and it is not in their best interest to return to their home country.
LSC represents youth ages 12 – 20 in San Francisco and Alameda counties in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases. We also provide trainings to other legal providers and community members about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and advocate for policies to benefit SIJS-eligible youth.
Do I qualify for SIJS?
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 can’t be reunified with one or both of your parents because of abuse, abandonment, or neglect, and it is in your best interest to be in the U.S.
An attorney can help you determine if you are eligible.
Do I get a work permit if I have SIJS?
You do not automatically receive a work permit with the approval of your SIJS petition. However, if you are granted deferred action with the approval of your SIJS petition, you can then apply for a work permit.
Can I travel outside the U.S. if I have SIJS?
No. SIJS does not provide you with authorization to re-enter the U.S., and if you leave the U.S., you will lose your SIJS.
If I have SIJS, can I help family members?
Once you become a permanent resident, if you get married and your spouse is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to petition for them. You can also petition for any unmarried children. You should talk to an attorney before doing this. If you are in the process of applying for status, be very careful about getting married because it might make you ineligible depending on what status you are applying for.
Once you have been a permanent resident for 5 years, you may be eligible to become a U.S. citizen. As a U.S. citizen, you can petition for your spouse, children, and siblings. Although U.S. citizens generally may also petition for parents once the citizens turn 21, if you obtained your legal status through SIJS, you will never be able to petition for your parents. This is true even if you were only abused, abandoned, or neglected by one parent and still have a good relationship with your other parent.