Immigration Attorney McCathern Painter addresses the most common questions about Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or SIJS.

  • What’s the biggest benefit to SIJS?

The majority of children that qualify for SIJS are in deportation proceedings, so the fact that SIJS protects the recipient from deportation is excellent protection. Further, all the children that qualify have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both of their biological parents, so the United States taking steps to protect them from further abuse is another significant benefit to these kids.

  • Can you work under Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

No. Until the minor child’s priority date is current and they can apply for a green card, they cannot work lawfully inside the United States. Sometimes this lasts into their twenties.

  • Can children who receive their legal permanent residency or LPR through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or SIJS petition for their parents?

No. Remember, these children have become dependant on the juvenile courts. They can no longer petition for the residency of their parents even should they become full citizens in the future.

  • Can people over the age of 18 on SIJS get married?

No. Children here on SIJS are unable to get married until they obtain their permanent residency. This is because SIJS is a program specifically for minor children, so, even though the child might grow up, in the eyes of immigration, they are the same age as they were when they applied. Marriage, however, will immediately throw them into the adult category and they will no longer qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

While this program has some drawbacks, it offers a lot of protection for minor children as well. It’s one of the best ways for a child with no legal status who has been neglected, abandoned, or abused by their parents to stay in the U.S. If you have more questions about SIJS, give one of our Immigration Attorneys a call.