There are lots of rules when it comes to filing immigration petitions with USCIS, and almost always that means following directions about filing online or by mail. But a new USCIS announcement enables a certain group of petitioners to file USCIS petitions in person at a local USCIS field office [with an appointment].
SIJS, the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, is a classification that enables certain juveniles who are in the United States alone to file for permission to legally live and work in the U.S. More than 44,000 children in the U.S. are waiting to receive green cards through the SIJS program, which “allows immigrant children in the state juvenile system who cannot reunify with their parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect, and who meet certain other criteria, to obtain lawful permanent immigration status.”
But before an SIJS minor can apply for a green card, the first step is to apply for special immigrant status by filing a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. This is the form that can now be filed in person, for certain applicants.
USCIS announced that petitioners for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status who are nearing their 21st birthday, or their representatives (meaning their attorney or accredited representative), may schedule an expedited appointment at USCIS to file their Form I-360 in person so that they do not miss the deadline to file. SIJS petitions must be filed before the petitioner turns 21, and these expedited appointments will only occur within two weeks of a petitioner turning 21.
At the appointment, the USCIS field office will accept the Form I-360 and date-stamp the first page, after which you will be given a photocopy of the first page of the form. USCIS will then send the form and any supporting documents to the USCIS Lockbox for receipting. As long as the Form I-360 is properly filed, USCIS will issue a Form I-797, Notice of Action, using the date the form was physically received at the field office as the receipt date.
If you are nearing your 21st birthday and are trying to file your Form I-360, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 to schedule an SIJS expedited appointment at a local field office.
Again, it is of the utmost importance that an SIJS petition Form I-360 is filed before a petitioner turns 21.
If you have questions about applying for an SIJS petition or any other immigration petition please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.