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What is the Special Immigrant Juvenile status?

As an immigrant minor in Miami, Florida, or elsewhere in the United States, you may have an option for legal status that is not available to adults. Because social services for immigrant children are limited, the federal government has created a program to provide for immigrant minors who are without the protection of a parent or guardian. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that there is a Special Immigrant Juvenile status that you may qualify for if you meet certain criteria.

When you file the application for SIJ status, you must be physically present in the United States, 20 years old or younger and unmarried. Even if you have been married before, you may be considered unmarried if you are widowed, divorced or your marriage has been annulled. You must also have a court order from Florida’s Family Court establishing that it would not be safe for you to be returned to your home country. The judge must determine that you should not be reunited with one or both of your parents because of neglect, abandonment or abuse.

If you are approved for SIJ status, you can then begin the process of getting your green card. Once you have received it, you can live and work in the United States permanently. However, you must be a citizen to file a petition for a brother or sister to get a green card, and you will never be able to file this type of petition for your parents. This information about SIJ status is provided for your education, but it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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