A Full-Service Law Firm Fighting For Your Rights

Experienced Team Helping You Seek Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Undocumented children with at least one parent who has abandoned or abused them can apply for special immigration benefits, permanent residency and ultimately U.S. citizenship.

The law office of Maniatis Law, in Nashville, helps clients in Tennessee and across the country complete all steps necessary to obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Attorney Matt Maniatis can assist clients in the complete process from juvenile court to applying for work authorization, permanent residency, and citizenship.

What Is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status?

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is an immigration classification available to unmarried undocumented immigrants under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both parents. SIJS is a way for immigrants under twenty-one to apply for and obtain legal permanent residence in the United States.

How Long Does The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Process Take?

The SIJS process can be long and involves different government agencies. Applicants must first obtain a court order from a state juvenile or family court appointing a guardian and finding the minor has been abandoned or abused, and that it is in their best interest to remain in the United States with their guardian. In Tennessee, this order must be signed before the minor turns 18. Next, applicants must file an application for SIJS classification with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before they turn 21.

Once their application for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is approved, they may be able to apply for work authorization. SIJS recipients must then wait until they can file for permanent residency. How long they wait depends on their “priority date” (the date on which their application was filed) and the visa availability bulletin put out by the U.S. Department of State. Currently there is a backlog of available visas resulting in a wait period of a few years. Once an applicant’s priority date is current, they can apply for permanent residency without having to leave the United States.

Can My Child Obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status If They Entered The U.S. Without A Visa?

There is no requirement of lawful admission for minors to receive Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. That means whether they came in with a visa or without, they may still be eligible to apply.

Who Can Be Appointed As The Guardian Of The Minor?

The law requires abandonment or abuse by at least 1 parent. This means the court may appoint the other parent as the minor’s guardian, another relative, or anyone else the court finds would be in the best interest of the minor.

My Child Turns 18 Very Soon. Can I Still Apply?

It is imperative that a decision on the first step of the SIJS process, the state guardianship petition, be made before the minor turns 18. Even if this is only a few days away, attorneys can file emergency petitions to bring a matter in front of a judge immediately. As long as the minor is not yet 18, it is not too late.

Dedicated To Your Success

The firm’s founding attorney, Matt Maniatis, is dedicated to his clients’ success. He understands immigration laws and procedures and how to navigate the confusing U.S. immigration system. Maniatis Law will work hard to complete the necessary paperwork accurately and completely, meet filing deadlines, and complete every step as quickly as possible. The attorney and staff at the firm are open and honest, communicate promptly, and keep clients apprised of all important developments in their cases in a timely manner.

The team at Maniatis Law follows directions from clients and encourages them to speak openly and honestly about their circumstances and histories to better help them obtain immigration relief. Call 615-988-1441 or contact the firm online to see how Maniatis and his team can help you.