The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program is designed to help young immigrants who came to the United States as children and made their education a priority. Please note that due to the January 13, 2018 USCIS announcement, the government is currently accepting DACA renewal applications at this time. The government, however, is not accepting DACA applications for those who have never applied for or received DACA status before. Current DACA holders are able to retain their work authorization cards and status until the expirations of those cards.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) program was created to protect children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by one or both parents. The benefit of SIJS is that mistreated children become eligible for a green card. The green card provides the child with security in having legal status and creates an avenue for them to apply for state and federal social welfare programs if needed.
While SIJS is intended to protect children and offer their guardians a sense of security, it is important to note that children who receive their green card based on SIJS can never submit a green card petition for their parents and can only apply for their brothers and sisters once they are 21 years old. But for children who receive their green card through the SIJS program, an avenue to citizenship is available after holding permanent resident status for five years.
You may be eligible for SIJS if
- You were abused, neglected or abandoned by one or both of your parents;
- You cannot be reunited with one or both of your parents;
- You are under 18 years old;
- You have never been married; and
- You currently live in the United States.
The SIJS program is a multi-step process that traditionally starts in the juvenile court where the child resides. The child and their parent or guardian must file a case in a juvenile court and the judge must make a formal finding of mistreatment. If a formal finding is made, then a series of applications must be prepared and submitted to the government. Before you may be granted a green card, the child must meet other guidelines and may have to pass a criminal background check.
If you believe you or your children may qualify, our experienced legal team can guide you through the application process. Call today at (540) 358-5593 to reserve a complimentary consultation.