About SIJS

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) protects young immigrants who are:

  • under 21,
  • not married,* and
  • have a parent or parents who have hurt them or who have not cared for them properly.

*If the marriage was not legal (because you were too young) or you are divorced now, you may qualify.

Who decides if I qualify for SIJS?
All U.S. states have laws that say how parents must care for their children. Parents must protect, feed, shelter, and support their children. They must not harm their children, and they have other legal duties.
A child may qualify for SIJS if a state court decides that:

  • an immigrant child has been harmed by his/her parent(s), and
  • it is unsafe for the child to continue living with the parent(s) or to return to the home country.  

If this happens, the court will make an order, and then the child can apply for SIJS.

Will any court consider my case?
No. But every state has courts that will hear your case, such as: district courts, county courts, juvenile delinquency/offender courts, probate/guardianship courts, juvenile dependency/state foster care courts, family courts, adoption courts, etc.

Who do the courts protect?
It can depend on the age of the immigrant. In some states, the court will only make SIJS orders for children who are under 18. Other states will make orders to protect children until they are 21 years old. (Immigration law says they qualify until they are 21.)  

What do I do after the court order?
After you get the court order, you can apply for SIJS. If there is no waiting list for your country, you can apply for SIJS at the same time you apply for your green card. SIJS applicants can never apply for their parents to get a green card.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify:

  • You must be under 21 and not married, and
  • You must have a parent or parents that have hurt or neglected you, and
  • A state court must decide you should not be with your parents or return to your home country.

Note: If you have disobeyed some laws or immigration rules, you may not not qualify for SIJS.

Next Steps

Find organizations near you