additional legal services

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

One of the first steps toward permanent citizenship in the United States can be through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). If you need legal assistance receiving SIJS, we can provide the services you need.

Illinois guardianship laws can be rather complex, which is why it is so important to work with a qualified and experienced professional. This is an important process, and you deserve the best support and guidance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything that you need to know about SIJS and minor guardianship here in Illinois.

If you would like to get more free information now, you can contact us online at any time. You can also call 312-332-6339 today.

What Is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Illinois?

Under federal law, a child can apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The first step on this path is getting a predicate order through a minor guardianship or adoption, and we can help.

If you:

  • Have a child who is currently in the U.S. but was born in another country, and you want the child to remain in the U.S. as a lawful citizen
  • Or you are legally a child (under the age of 21) and need a pathway to pursue lawful citizenship,  

then you can pursue a minor guardianship in order to obtain the requisite order you will need to apply for SIJS.

But, the child needs to meet certain conditions. As outlined by both Illinois and federal law, the child must:

  • Be under 21 years old
  • Not be married
  • Have been abused, abandoned or deserted by one or both parents

It’s worth mentioning that the definitions of abuse, abandonment and desertion are outlined by Illinois’ SIJS statute. The parent may also be deceased for the child to qualify.

Also, the child could be living in the U.S. with one of their parents and still prove that the other parent has abused, abandoned or deserted them in some way. The prospective guardian, however, cannot be a biological parent of the child, as that would be a completely different path.

Reasons for a Minor Guardianship

To meet the requirements for a minor guardianship, you will need to show U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that there is a reason for the guardianship. For instance, these reasons could be for:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Health insurance

Most guardianships end at 18 years old when the child becomes a legal adult; however, Illinois recently changed its law so the cut-off age is now 21.  This is specifically for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status purposes. Individuals under the age of 21 can get a predicate guardianship order that helps them forge a path toward permanent citizenship in the United States.

You also have to show that reunification with the biological parent(s) is not viable. In other words, it needs to be in the child’s best interests to have this guardianship and remain in the United States.

Once these prerequisite qualifications are met, we can guide you through the rest of the process. After the predicate guardianship order is entered, the child can work with an immigration lawyer to actually file for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Keep in mind that the child themselves needs to file for this status, and they need to have somebody who’s willing to be their guardian.

We facilitate these types of cases all the time. We understand your situation, so we can help you with your path toward permanent residence in the United States. Whenever you need us, you can fill out our online contact form.

Timeline for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Illinois

Once the guardianship order is entered, the timeline for status approval will vary. This ultimately depends on the USCIS’ guidelines for different countries. Some countries may have longer wait times while others have shorter ones. Once you have filed your application, however, you do receive new legal protection from deportation.

Illinois’ statutes abide by federal requirements, so that’s why the state has recently changed the maximum age for SIJS eligibility to 21. The amended guardianship section now contains a statute that’s specific to SIJS qualification in Illinois.

How We Can Help You with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Here at Gillespie Law Group, LLC, we ask all the questions to confirm that you meet the requirements. We can help you get a predicate guardianship order, find a reputable immigration lawyer and get you to the next steps. Keep in mind that Special Immigrant Juvenile Status approval is not automatic after the guardianship order. You still need to complete additional steps to obtain a green card.

After the child has a green card, they are then a permanent resident of the United States. This means that you don’t need to follow international adoption requirements if you later choose to adopt the child.

We will help you lay out whether the child meets Illinois’ definition of abuse, abandonment or desertion. We’ll cite the updated statute to show that the child qualifies.

Our trusted team at Gillespie Law Group, LLC knows what SIJS is, and we can guide you through this legal process.

You can get started obtaining your predicate order for potential SIJS today when you contact us online. We would be more than happy to help you whenever you need us.