What is a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa?

In simple terms, Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa is a visa that allows children who have fallen victim to abuse, neglect, abandonment or issues of a similar nature to live in the United States. After fulfilling all of the criteria necessary for such a status, immigrants who obtain the visa will then be able to get permanent residence.



Who is eligible for such a status, and what are its benefits?


In order for a child or a youth to be granted a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa (or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status), the child or youth in question must not be married, and they must also be under the age of 21. Furthermore, the child must also be declared to be a dependent in Juvenile Court, and reunification with their parents must also not be possible due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or issues of a similar nature. Lastly, it must also not be in the youth’s best interest to return to their country of origin or else to their country of habitual residence.


Naturally, there are various benefits for youths to obtain a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa. Chief amongst these is the fact that holders of such a visa will then be able to apply for lawful permanent residence, a status that will then enable them to live and work in the United States permanently, travel outside of the U.S. (and then return), and will also give them access to certain public benefits. Moreover, individuals who hold permanent residence will then also be able to apply for U.S. citizenship, which grants them all legal rights afforded to American citizens.

Further to this, it is observed that when a child files for legal permanent status, they might also be eligible for a work permit until their application is decided upon. However, the child in question might not be able to work under federal or state law, depending on their age.

Are there any negative issues associated with Juvenile Visas?


When a child is granted a Juvenile Visa, they will cease to be a child of their parents when it comes to immigration purposes. Accordingly, when the child in question turns 21, they will not be able to file for their parents to join them in the United States – even if they apply to become an American citizen and their application is successful. This means that if the child or youth in question is still hopeful of reunification with their parents on U.S. soil, then the Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa option might not be the best one for them.


In conclusion, it is essential to note that the case for applicants applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa rests upon the fact that harmful conduct was conducted by their own parents. This differs from asylum applications, which are based on fear of persecution or harm by governments. In fact, successful applicants for asylum will be able to petition for their family members to join them in the United States if they become permanent residents and citizens, whereas successful applicants for the Juvenile Visa will not be allowed to do so. This is something that must be kept in mind when applying for the Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa.

If you would like to discuss more with an experienced attorney, do not hesitate to contact us online or call (760) 280-7900.

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