Overview of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Massachusetts

by | May 31, 2023 | Special Immigrant Juvenile Status |

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a unique form of immigration protection for abused, abandoned, neglected or otherwise mistreated children and youth under the age of 21 years old to apply for lawful permanent residency (a “green card”).

Many of these vulnerable youth have no other viable way to apply for lawful permanent residency in the United States and, as such, are at particular risk of remaining in unstable familial situations, or otherwise being exploited for their lack of immigration status.

Under federal immigration law, in order to demonstrate eligibility for SIJS, one must be:
1. a non-citizen child present in the United States;
2. who has been declared dependent on a juvenile court located in the United States or whom such a court has legally committed to or placed under the custody of, an agency or department of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State or juvenile court located in the United States;
3. for whom the court has determined that reunification with one or both of the child’s parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under state law; and
4. for whom it has been determined in the judicial proceedings that it would not be in the child’s best interest to be returned to their his or her home country.

In order to qualify for SIJS with federal immigration authorities, the immigrant youth must obtain a specialized order from a state court which consolidates findings consistent with the SIJS statutory definition. This order, sometimes referred to as a Special Findings Order or a “best interest order,” must be signed by the judge and submitted with the youth’s SIJS petition to federal immigration authorities. Federal immigration authorities make the ultimate decision on whether to approve an immigrant youth for SIJS and lawful permanent residency.

Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts issue Special Findings Orders for immigrant youth to pursue SJIS by the filing a Complaint for Dependency.

Should you need assistance with the filing of a Complaint for Dependency, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095to schedule a FREE case evaluation.

We offer reasonable fees and a payment plan option so that you can become a legal permanent resident of the United States.

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