The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer deport certain immigrants who can’t yet apply for Green Card. Based on a new policy, USICIS will consider deferred action and related employment authorization for noncitizens who have an approved Form I-360, for Special Immigrant SIJ classification but who cannot apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) because an immigrant visa number is not immediately available. . These new policies will provide better protection to immigrant children who are victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or similar parental maltreatment. ￼
The new policies include updating regulations to clarify Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) eligibility criteria such as updating an age-out provision to protect petitioners who turn 21 while their petition is pending. Additionally, USCIS is updating regulations for evidentiary requirements to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program and ensure that eligible victims of parental abuse, neglect, or abandonment receive SIJ classification and a pathway to apply for lawful permanent residence (LPR) status.
USCIS may consent to a grant of SIJ classification when the petitioner has provided evidence of court-ordered relief from parental abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law, as well as evidence of the factual basis for a juvenile court’s determinations. The regulations also make clear that petitioners cannot be required to contact their alleged abuser while USCIS makes a decision in their SIJ case. An SIJ petitioner may have an attorney, accredited representative, and/or trusted adult present, if an interview is scheduled, but only attorneys and accredited representatives are entitled to make a statement during such interviews.
USCIS will consider deferred action and related employment authorization for noncitizens who have an approved Form I-360, for Special Immigrant SIJ classification but who cannot apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) because an immigrant visa number is not immediately available.
ddition to issuing the updated regulations, USCIS is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to consider deferred action and related employment authorization for noncitizens classified as SIJs who are ineligible to apply for adjustment of status to LPR status solely because a visa is not immediately available. Deferred action and employment authorization will provide invaluable assistance to these vulnerable noncitizens who have limited financial and other support systems in the United States while they await an available visa number.
Similarly, Petitioners for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification (or their representatives) may schedule an appointment within two weeks before their 21st birthday to file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, in person.
SIJ petitioners must file Form I-360 before their 21st birthday. SIJ petitioners nearing age 21 may call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to schedule an SIJ expedite appointment at a local field office so they can file Form I-360 in person within two weeks before they turn 21.
The SIJ petitioner (or their representative) may use that appointment to file Form I-360 in person at the field office. We will not examine the request for completeness, but we will process it following standard receipting procedures. If your Form I-360 is properly filed, we will issue a Form I-797, Notice of Action, using the date we physically received it at the field office as the receipt date.