Chicago Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Attorneys

Supportive Counsel for Familial Immigration

Immigrating to the United States presents many challenges, especially when additional factors such as abuse or neglect come into play. For children and young adults seeking to obtain legal status in the country, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) offers an opportunity to lawfully reside within the United States and provides protection from familial conditions harmful to the individual’s well-being. 

As a special immigration classification, SIJS grants legal status to applicants who are under 21 years old and have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both legal parents, or prior adopting parents, and cannot return to their home country. 

The process to obtain SIJS in the United States consists of two steps: 

  1. Attaining a predicate order establishing harm to the child and; 
  2. Petitioning for SIJS with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services 

Kogut & Wilson attorneys focus on the first step of the process and assist qualified individuals in obtaining a predicate order. Individuals then work with a qualified immigration attorney to successfully obtain legal status in the United States.

Kogut & Wilson, L.L.C. understands the sensitivity and significance of SIJS and personalizes the approach to each case based on individual needs and circumstances. With more than 20 years of experience, our team of Chicago family law attorneys possess the knowledge and commitment necessary to protect your best interests. 

Contact our attorneys at (312) 565-4100 to learn how you may qualify for SIJS and the protections it offers. 

Who Qualifies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Similar to other forms of immigration in the United States, various considerations and requirements exist to qualify for SIJS. Most notably, SIJS is only applicable to those aged under 21 years.

Individuals seeking a predicate order with SIJS findings must meet the following conditions:

  • Unmarried 
  • Under 21 years of age
  • Experience abuse, neglect or abandonment by one or both legal parents, or prior adopting parents
  • Unable to return to their country of nationality or residency
  • In custody of the Department of Health and Human Services OR a state agency, OR dependent on the juvenile court
  • Residing in the United States with one legal parent or with another third-party caregiver willing to pursue custody, guardianship or adoption of the child

The SIJS Process

The first step in the SIJS process requires entry of an order with specific findings regarding harm suffered by the child or young adult and their inability to return to a prior country due to harm. This language may be contained in one of the following orders as appropriate:

  • Parentage Order 
  • Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage 
  • Judgment Order for Adoption
  • Plenary Guardianship Order 

As each child’s situation is unique, it is important to seek the assistance of a trusted attorney to ensure the order’s viability. 

After acquiring status, individuals can then apply for a Green Card or Lawful Permanent Resident status, based on SIJS classification. This status waives certain restrictions immigrants normally experience and grants individuals the necessary permission to lawfully obtain permanent residency, work authorization and attend schools in the United States. 

As the SIJS process varies in length and complexity, it is essential to have experienced advocates on your side.

Wondering if you qualify for SIJS in the United States? Request a consultation to find out if SIJS is an option for you.