Minors and Children (SIJS)
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS, is a special status available to minors in the United States who can establish in a domestic court that they were abandoned, neglected, or abused by one or both of their parents. This type of application is extremely beneficial for minor children who might not otherwise qualify for an immigration status in the United States.
The process for securing SIJS can be tricky because it involves two different types of U.S. legal systems. First, the minor and their U.S. guardian have to file a Petition for Guardianship or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (link to family law page on APR) in a U.S. domestic court. The requirements for this type of domestic case vary by jurisdiction. In Colorado, children up to the age of 21 can still benefit from this type of strategy.
If the domestic court grants the requisite orders, the minor can then file a self-petition for SIJS using Form I-360. If the petition is granted and once a visa becomes available, the minor can apply for a green card or Lawful Permanent Residency.
This status ultimately allows the minor the opportunity to pursue U.S. citizenship, but importantly it does not allow for them to submit petitions on behalf of their parents in the future.