Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petition

Non-citizen juveniles (i.e., children) in the United States are sometimes abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents. This may be because these juveniles are in the United States without their parents, or because their parents in the United States are unable to care for them. In 1990, the U.S. Congress created Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ status) to protect and assist these children. In 2008, the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act changed the SIJ status eligibility requirements and streamlined some of its procedures.

The dedicated Lexington immigration attorneys at Carman Fullerton, PLLC can help if you are a non-citizen juvenile in the United States and you have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both of your parents or if you know of a child in such a situation. Representation by a knowledgeable attorney like those at Carman Fullerton, PLLC can help during court proceedings and in filing of the application for SIJ status.

Why Choose Our Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petition Lawyer?

When choosing a lawyer, you should find one that you not only feel comfortable with, but one who has the experience and resources to help with complicated immigration concerns. Here are some reasons why we think Carman Fullerton is your best choice:

  • We are experienced and bilingual. Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton and Attorney Dan Carman both speak Spanish and have accommodated speakers of other languages as well. Our team of attorneys has many years of experience representing clients involved in immigration cases, whether they entered the United States legally or illegally. We have helped non-citizens from all walks of life, with or without status, to remain in the U.S.
  • We understand what you are going through and that you may feel vulnerable and confused, so we do everything possible to make you feel safe, listened to, and understood.
  • We are recognized in our field. Dan Carman is a member of various local and national Bar Associations and has previously been named in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers.
  • We know immigration and criminal law. Attorney Kirby Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals.
  • We are local. With an office in Lexington, KY, our attorneys are well-positioned to provide engaged, personalized legal services for our communities.
  • We are available 24/7 for client emergencies.

The U.S. immigration system is complicated, and making mistakes could result in your removal from the country. It is difficult for immigrants, especially juveniles unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system to represent themselves.

The compassionate immigration attorneys at Carman Fullerton know what you are going through and the importance of being able to stay in the United States. We have many years of experience as Kentucky immigration lawyers and you can benefit from our knowledge, fluency in English, and legal education.


How Our Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Attorneys Work for You

Every person who works at Carman Fullerton — lawyers and support staff — shares our commitment to our clients. When you have our team on your side, we will get to work for you immediately. We will:

  • Meet with you to discuss your individual situation – your current immigration status, possible removal situation, and the threats to your well-being, and determine the best way to get your SIJ status.
  • Investigate your case and collect evidence to support your claim, having, such as testimony and written declarations from people who know you, and work, school, medical records, and financial records.
  • Help you fill out forms to make sure everything is done properly and that they are filed correctly and in a timely manner.
  • Coach you to make sure you know how to answer questions and handle any interviews, so you say the right thing to benefit your case.
  • Represent you at all court hearings and appearances.
  • Appeal your case if your request for SIJ is denied.

Our immigration attorneys can provide you with representation that can protect you and allow you to stay in the US. Call us at any time, seven days a week. Put your trust in the attorneys who earn the trust of their clients every day.

Get Help Now 859-971-0060

What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ)?

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) allows young immigrants who are abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parents to remain in the U.S. legally and apply for lawful permanent residency. With SIJ status, juveniles who are declared dependent by a juvenile court or are put into the custody of state agencies or court-appointed entities because they cannot be returned to one or both of their parents, and who cannot be returned to their home country or “last habitual residence” because it is not in their best interest, may qualify for SIJ status. Once SIJ status is granted, the recipient may apply for lawful permanent residence status (LPR status) (i.e., a green card) and eventually U.S. citizenship.

Who Is Eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

To be eligible for SIJ status, there must first be a finding, signed by a state court judge with juvenile jurisdiction (i.e., a dependency, guardianship, probate, or delinquency court), that:

  • The juvenile has been declared to be dependent on the court and placed into the custody of an agency or department of a state or an individual or entity appointed by the state, or a juvenile court located in the United States.
  • Reunification with one or both parents is not possible because the juvenile was abused, neglected, or abandoned; and
  • There has been an administrative or judicial finding that it would not be in the juvenile’s best interest to return the juvenile to the juvenile’s parents or the juvenile’s previous country of nationality or country of last habitual residence.

How do You Qualify for SIJ?

There are some additional requirements before the SIJ status application can be filed. The state court judge of juvenile jurisdiction must also determine that these requirements have been or will be met:

  • The juvenile must file for SIJ status before reaching the age of 21.
  • The juvenile must be unmarried at the time of filing the application and must remain unmarried until SIJ status is granted.
  • The juvenile court must retain jurisdiction until SIJ status has been granted by USCIS unless the juvenile is over the age of 18.
  • The dependency case cannot have been filed as a sham just to get immigrant status; and
  • If the juvenile is in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, ICE has given its consent for the filing of the SIJ status application, or if the juvenile is an unaccompanied minor, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has given its consent.

Can a Juvenile with SIJ Status Be Denied LPR Status?

A juvenile who files for SIJ status will either simultaneously or eventually apply for LPR status (depending on individual circumstances). Requirements for LPR status, therefore, must be met before that status will be granted. A juvenile may not be eligible for LPR status if the juvenile is:

  • Known or reasonably believed to have engaged in drug trafficking.
  • A drug addict.
  • Engaging in prostitution.
  • Found to have violated a protection order.
  • Found to have used false documents; or
  • Determined to have a mental condition that is a threat to others.

SIJ Lawyer in Kentucky Answers FAQS

Juveniles who need a protected status are bound to have questions and concerns, and Carman Fullerton can help. Here are some answers to questions our clients often ask:

What Government Agency Coordinates Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Applications?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Applications for SIJ status are filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The USCIS reviews the application and its supporting documentation, including the juvenile court order, and also receives applications and determines eligibility for LPR status.

What if I am Facing Removal Proceedings?

If you are a juvenile already in removal (i.e., deportation) proceedings, it will be necessary to file the SIJ status application first, terminate the removal case, and then file for LPR status. However, as part of its determination for granting SIJ status, USCIS must conclude that the SIJ status application was made primarily to protect a juvenile’s welfare rather than to receive an immigration benefit.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card?

It is difficult to predict how long it will take to get a green card as there is a limit on the number of young immigrants per country who can get a green card through SIJS each year, and this varies. According to the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, some applicants can apply for SIJS at the same time as they apply for a green card and work authorization, while others can apply only for SIJS and will have to wait before they can apply for a green card even if they successfully filled for an SIJ.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File an SIJ?

While it is possible to file for an SIJ on your own, the SIJ process is very complicated, so it is important to find an attorney experienced in handling SIJ cases to assist you. For your application to be successful, you should find someone who has extensive knowledge of the family court procedures as well as the complicated immigration laws and processes for SIJ.

What if I am a Single Parent Filing for an SIJ for my Child?

If you are a single parent filing for an SIJ for a child, be aware that one-parent SIJ cases are more complicated than cases in which both parents have abused, abandoned, or neglected the child or the second parent is not in the picture. The process of filing a petition and gaining the proper special findings is much more complicated when one parent is involved, so be sure to get help from an experienced immigration attorney.

When you have Carman Fullerton working for you, we will be there throughout the entire process, answering your questions and keeping you informed.

Get Help from Our Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petition Lawyer

Were you brought into the United States illegally, did you arrive in the United States as a juvenile without your parents, have you been abused or neglected by either of your parents since your arrival, or were you abandoned by one or both of your parents after you arrived? If you are a non-citizen under the age of 21, and you were abused, neglected, or abandoned by either of your parents, you may be eligible for SIJ status.

Your first step should be to contact the Special Immigrant Juvenile Petition attorneys at Carman Fullerton, PLLC today about your situation. These knowledgeable Kentucky immigration lawyers are ready to sit down to talk with you and help determine if you are eligible to apply for SIJ status. They can also represent you in juvenile court proceedings before your application is with USCIS. Talk with them before you contact any government agency.

The lawyers at Carman Fullerton PLLC are very affordable, and they have specialized knowledge of immigration law.  Do not delay. Get started with your application today.

GET HELP NOW AT 859-971-0060

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