What Is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

The Immigration Act of 1990 provided for a legal status known as “special immigrant juvenile status,” which affords special immigration status to minor children and allows them to attain Lawful Permanent Residency—commonly known as “green card” status.

To be eligible for special immigrant juvenile status, a minor must meet the following criteria:

  • Under the age of 21
  • Currently living in the United States
  • Has never been married or if previously married, the marriage ended due to annulment, divorce, or death
  • USCIS finds that special immigration juvenile status was not sought primarily for immigration purposes

Special immigrant juvenile status is an important legal method for protecting children who were brought to the United States as an undocumented immigrant, especially when removal from the country would not be in their best interest.

Getting Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in California

A necessary step in achieving special immigrant juvenile status includes obtaining a ruling from a state juvenile court about the child’s status. This includes a finding that returning the child to their country of habitual residence is not in the child’s best interest and that the child is either a dependent of the court or in the custody of a state agency or court-appointed individual.

Additionally, a state juvenile court must find that the child cannot be reunified with one or both parents due to one of the following circumstances:

  • Abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Neglect
  • A similar basis under California law

In California, a child can get special immigrant juvenile status from a California Superior Court in their County. Each county court has its own specific rules when it comes to court procedure, but all apply California laws uniformly.

Contact Family Law San Diego to Learn More

At Family Law San Diego, we have experience dealing with various legal issues as they relate to domestic relations. Our attorney, Raul Maravilla, has dedicated much of his practice to helping the underprivileged and underrepresented community with family law and immigration matters.

Please call us at (619) 577-4900 or contact our office online to learn more.