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Legal Information: Federal


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Laws current as of August 15, 2022

Aside from filing for my child as a derivative, what other immigration options may be available for my child?

If you qualify for a U visa and you are thinking of applying for your child as a derivative, you may want to consult with an immigration lawyer first to see if there are any other immigration options for your child. Sometimes it makes sense for children to get status on their own instead of having their status based on your status. For example, some types of immigration cases are decided much faster than U visas, or your child could get a green card faster than s/he could through a U visa. Also, if your child has his/her own child, your child may be able to include your grandchild as a derivative in your child’s own petition. Below are some options that can be available to children for you to discuss with a lawyer.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

Children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by one or both of their parents may be able to get Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which would allow them to file for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”). It is important to understand that a child can be considered to be “abandoned” if one parent is absent, even if the child has a good home with the non-absent parent. However, a child cannot file for status for either parent as part of this application. You can read more about the requirements for SIJS on the USCIS.gov website. Please talk to a lawyer who specializes in SIJS for help. There are special requirements for SIJS, including getting a decision from a state court judge, that are unique to SIJS.

VAWA self-petition

Children who are/were abused by a parent who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may be able to file for their own VAWA self-petition. See our VAWA for Abuse Victims page for more information.