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Why Do SIJS Applications Fail?

Why Do SIJS Applications Fail?

Avoiding SIJS Failure and Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them | 2024 |California

How do you turn the tide in favor of your SIJS application amidst the ever-changing landscape of immigration law? The answer lies within reach.

Welcome to a pivotal episode of the Viva Visa Podcast, where we unveil the hidden reasons behind the failure of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) applications in 2023. In this essential guide, we identify these pitfalls and equip you with the strategies to overcome them.

Our seasoned immigration experts, armed with years of experience, dissect the intricacies of state court procedures – a critical phase where many SIJS applications face their toughest challenges.

In this episode, you will discover:

  • Key reasons why SIJS applications falter and how to avoid these traps.
  • Tactical advice tailored to the unique needs of SIJS applicants, helping you confidently navigate the complex legal landscape.
  • Personalized support options: Our dedicated team is here to provide specialized assistance for your specific SIJS journey. Feel free to contact us at (213) 204-6500 for guidance that speaks directly to your situation.

This episode is not just a listen; it’s a lifeline for parents, guardians, legal professionals, and SIJS applicants grappling with the nuances of immigration law. We pack our discussion with actionable insights, practical advice, and the latest legal information to empower everyone involved in the SIJS process.

🔔 Stay at the forefront of immigration law: Don’t miss out on our future episodes. Subscribe to our channel for ongoing, comprehensive legal insights. We continuously cover the latest in legal procedures and immigration updates, with a particular focus on SIJS cases.

Act swiftly and with informed precision. The SIJS program’s eligibility criteria are time-sensitive, particularly for those under 21 seeking protection from deportation. Contact our office for confidential, expert legal guidance. We offer Spanish, Farsi, and English services, ensuring comprehensive support for your needs.

Tune into this episode for an all-encompassing guide on circumventing common SIJS application pitfalls and paving a clear, informed path to success.

Hello everyone, Amir Sed is here and you are listening to the episode #4 of the Viva Visa podcast by Adhami Law Group.
In this episode, Kousha Adhami, the founder of Adhami Law Group and I will cover and respond to the questions that some of you as our listeners emailed us and asked us to answer. Questions are merely about the state court challenges, the petitioners qualification and the issues that may fail your case. So please stay with us and thanks for listening. Let’s begin.


After completing the juvenile court, what is the next move and what do we need to avoid the SIJS application failure?

  • Hey, Kousha, welcome.
  • Thank you Amir, Thank you for having me as always.
  • Thank you. OK, Kousha we got lots of questions through the last two weeks. And because we don’t have that much time, so we’re going to cover three or four of them. OK. So let’s start with the first question. The first question is about the juvenile court. After completing the juvenile court, what is the next move and what do we need?
  • So. After completing the first stage, which is the state court process, we now have to continue the Petition with USCIS. So we’re done with the state court. Now what we need to do is we need to file the form I-360 Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petition with USCIS. And there are essential documents, that is, that is required to be filed with this form. But two of the most essential documents that needs to be filed are the predicate orders and the birth certificate of the minor child or the minors. If there’s more than one, this will pretty much give the USCIS enough evidence to start processing the I 360, so it doesn’t necessarily give the approval because sometimes it will be asking For more information when USCIS is not clear as to the documents that were submitted, usually they. Issue a request for evidence and in the request for evidence they ask for additional information to clarify the petition or the information that is needed. Sometimes there are issues with the birth certificate, some certain issues with the predicate order, sometimes they want like certified. Copy of the predicate orders or maybe better translation of birth certificates, passport or any other document that is needed to be provided to USCIS.


What Happens if the Father’s Name is Not on the Birth Certificate: Next Steps and Expert Guidance.

  • OK, I have a question. You mentioned about birth certificate, right? Yes, if there is no birth certificate or if the father’s name, The name of the father is not on the birth certificate. Then what?
  • Very good question, I’ve encountered this situation a lot. So like I mentioned before, SIJS is something that needs to be done correctly at the stage 1. So when? When client hires us for the first process for the first stage at the state court level. And if the father’s name is not on the birth certificate, usually the process needs to be. I mean It really varies. But if the petition takes place in the Family Law Court, then the petition for custody and SIJS finding needs to be accompanied by petition to establish parentage. It means that the state court or Family Law court is required. To establish on its findings, Who the father of the minor child is? OK. So in the petition to establish paternity, you’re asking the Family Law Court to. Based on the requests of the of the petition you’re make, you’re asking the court to make the findings regarding the father of the child. So when we have a situation like this, if the father’s identity is known, then based on the declaration, the petitions that were submitted. Umm. If there’s enough evidence to show that that was the father of the child. When the court makes a finding, the court will also make the finding that. So and so is the father of the minor child. And if USCIS questions the deficiency of the child’s birth certificate, then the courts finding is sufficient enough for USCIS to rely on. So would our clients where the father’s name is not on the birth certificate. Um, then, then when we filed the petition, the court, we asked the court to make the findings of The Who the father is. So that way. You will not have any issues in the long term with the child’s SIJS petition with USCIS I-360.


Can a Child Travel or Engage in Activities After a Favorable State Court Decision, Before USCIS Approval?

  • Just just one step back for it, OK? If the state court result was good and we could go and move on to the USCIS, OK, is that enough for a child to go to trip or doing anything? Because now we’re good and it’s all about the USCIS or not?
  • I think, I would have to say like depending on the factors, but generally the answer is no because because I-360 and I-360 approval by itself does not authorize the applicant to travel outside the US. If the I-360 is, is approved, right? And if the child is. For example, if I-360 is approved and you’re filing the Adjustment of Status application, the green card and along with that you apply for Advanced Parole. So that if the Advanced Pro is issued prior to the approval of the green card and you have a you have authorization to leave the country. But if without that I and all the immigration attorneys with advice against traveling prior to having a authorization to do so because, I mean, the child can, the applicant can leave but are they going to be able to come back, right. You know that’s why that’s what Advanced Parole allows you to obtain authorization in the US. Prior to leaving, prior to departing from the US to reenter the US.


If an I-360 or SIJS Visa is Denied by USCIS, Can You Appeal the Decision?

  • OK, What happened if the I 360 or the SIJS visa is denied at the USCIS? Is there appeal process?
  • Very good question. I mean that’s a very, very good question. So. Um. USCIS has. USCIS is an agency, it’s not a court, right? OK, so if the I 360 is denied? there is a procedure or process that allows the applicant to appeal this. Now depending on the type of appeal you want to do or the you depending on the appeal that the applicant wants to pursue, I believe it falls under form I-290B and with that form with that application You can either appeal the decision of USCIS Or you can file a motion to Reopen or a motion to reconsideration or motion to reconsider. So if there was a if the office or whoever adjudicated the I. 360 made a mistake then then. It can be corrected however. However, if this process with the I-290-B, or if the applicant exhausts all the level of appeal available to them at the USCIS level, then the next step would probably be either it would be a federal court because. It happens a lot where USCIS kind of contradicts its own policies or regulations and you have to seek a decision or a or petition before the federal court or judge to direct or guide USCIS to make a correct decision regarding your case. So we had a there was actually a class action lawsuit for SIJS applicant because at some point. For guardianship applicants for for SIJS applicants who had obtained their guardianship in California. And they had obtained their guardianship order along with the SIJS finding at the state court level and they were between the under the age of 21 and they were from 18 of age, basically 18 to 20. USCIS was either rejecting them or not processing them. So there was a class action lawsuit. And the class action resolved the this issue because USCIS was basically saying or indicating that since the children were over the age of 20, right over the age of 18. They could the, the, the guardianship court in California did not have jurisdiction.. It’s a very complex issue. But it’s resolved now. So, so very good.
  • So this is exactly where the attorneys come to the picture.
  • Yeah it got very complicated and you know but the class action is resolved and it really the judges really sided with the with the SIJS applicants  in this case.
  • You know in next episode we’ll talk about I 360 and the the complication of the I 360 and how we have to provide all those information but the reason that I’m talking about it is that because sometimes people look at their videos on YouTube or somewhere else and they figure out, OK, it’s easy. It’s a form. No, it’s not easy. It’s not just a form because it’s, you know,
  • I wish that was the case.
  • Not really. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The way you as an attorney, you know how to put. All those you know, key factors that will provide and build the foundation of this story that the USCIS agents they will read and understand what is the case is, is really is it like an art? You know right And it’s not just going through the videos and the YouTube, this, that, it’s not easy like that. That’s why I’m, I’m trying to emphasize on that one because of the listeners, if you want to go based on your judgment and your decision, it’s OK, you can do that. But the result is absolutely different than when you talk with an attorney, especially for SIJS, you’re not applying for the tourist visa. Visa. It’s a SIJS case. It’s really important. If there is a deny the future must. It’s not gonna be easy for you to roll it back and start over. You know, for the visa, for different types of visa you can’t do anything. But for this case it’s not easy for sure. So let’s go to the next question.
  • I should actually. I mean I’m gonna add something to that. Right. Right. I really appreciate you indicating that, right. Because you know of course there is no you know we don’t want to push people right in into like doing things definitely necessarily with attorneys right. However. A good chunk of our cases that I sometimes get from clients is is the cases that they’re trying to do it and it didn’t work out and they had to now spend a kind of like a double the price to fix the issues that the mistakes and the issues that were receiving the application and USCIS doesn’t like to spend too much time. And that’s the key. And that’s the problem. Yes. It happens very often. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Is it, is it, is it is it complicated and very busy agency and they take forever to fix issues even if the issue is done by by themselves. So it’s it’s just better to be done correctly right. Right First stage exactly yeah.
  • Yeah, you know, you know the most important thing here is not just money, it’s about the time absolutely. Because if you make a mistake and if you delay the case and if you pass that limit, sometimes it’s not. It’s not worth the money. Yeah. It’s not possible to turn back and start over because you pass that age, right. You know that’s the case. Right. Right, right. Yeah. That’s what I’m trying to emphasize. Be careful. The last question that we have is that. How does the visa process work? Is there a wait time period.


What is the Visa Application Process and Does it Include a Waiting Period?

  • Yes, OK. So. As I mentioned previously, the I 360 right by itself does not gradually legal status. The I 360 is a visa that can be later on used for the child to apply for his or her green card. So the I 360 for SIJS. So, so once the I360 is filed with USCIS, USCIS usually takes about six months to adjudicate and approve the I 360. Once I-360 is approved, SIJS applicants are eligible to apply for their work authorization on their C-14 category, which is pretty awesome thing because we didn’t have that before. So now decision applicants can obtain their work authorization and their Social Security before they can apply for the Green card.
  • With I-360, the at the approved one?
  • Once I 360 approves, yes, yes, very interesting because before we didn’t have, right. This is pretty, this is relatively new
  • so they can apply for their parents as well.
  • No, no, no, no. We have to talk about it later. Yes, that’s a very nice definitely I’m gonna go right. Yes, yes, yes. So, so SIJS is only for the minor, you know, the worker authorization is only for the minor. And to kind of like provide a little bit of a background, yeah, when a SIJS applicant received his or her green card, right. And even if they become a citizen, they can never petition each or any of the Parents. SIJS is only for the miner . that’s something to consider, but we’ll talk more about that. Yeah, sure. Yes. OK. So once the I 360 is approved. Depending. So it’s a once the I- 360 approved in order you receive a priority date and in order to check your priority date you need to visit the visa bulletin website where you can check the status of your whether your priority date is current or not. The priority that falls under EB4 and this is where it gets a little complicated. So. if the child because the priority date varies based on the ethnicity and the nationality of the child. So if the child is a national of El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras then the IT takes longer. For. For the priority date become current. Why? because there is that there are more applicants. For the SIJS. Yes, yes, yes. There is a high number of this unaccompanied minors that came to the US.
  • Limited available visa.
  • Now the limit is, yeah. If so. So you’re looking at somewhere around like three years. You know, one side, 3 years, yes, they have to wait three years to apply for their green card. If they are from Mexico now it’s a little less. So it’s usually like 2 years that they have to wait. And I don’t know when our listeners are going to listen to our podcast, but these dates that I’m telling you guys is. Is as of September of 2022 right? OK, If there are from any other country there, they’re their priority. They should be correct. Once they’re so, once I360 is improved, they can apply for that green card, OK For example, if someone from Armenia OK, from Iran? Yes, from Afghanistan, from Ukraine. Alright, so once I360 approved, they then they can apply for green card if they’re not, if, if, if they are not in removal proceedings or if they’re not any other issues.
  • You mean from I360 approval to the moment they received the green card sometimes it takes two years or three years, right.
  • OK, let me, let me let me just refresh, right. OK, so if the if the IF the child is not subject to the visa bulletin, OK. And this usually happens if they’re from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras because there’s a high number of the applicants, then once the I 360 is approved. They can apply for their green card, or they can apply for SIJS and the green card currently. So they are not necessarily have to wait. So it depends. It depends where they’re from. It depends if there are any other immigration factors if there. If there is, so it’s there’s not a. You don’t. You can’t just apply right away. You have to you have it a it’s a very fact base.
  • and it doesn’t matter if they pass 21 years old. In that case. another Yeah,
  • no, I no, I think what you’re saying is incorrect. What I would like to emphasize is that. If you’re asking if the I 360 has been approved before they were 21 and now they’re like 23 years old and prior to today these current, now they can apply for their green card. So once the I360 is approved and if they age out, you’re good. OK, OK, right. Exactly. That’s the question. Provision does not apply once I 360 settled. I am going to reemphasize this again I 360 must be filed before 21. There is no way around it.


What Factors Can Cause Delays in the Approval of an I-360 Petition?

  • Yes, yes. And we have to, we have to consider the, the time period of the. State court, the five or three, five months and then the process. So we have to consider about six or seven months at least to make sure we can we good enough to get to the I360. Right, right, right, right, right. Yeah umm so. The next question, OK, just the, the last question actually what can delay the I 360 approval?
  •  OK, good question Amir, so. Once I 360 is filed, USCIS can issue various different requests for evidence or RFP’s regarding the SIJS application. So I’ve situations that we’ve encountered at our office is that. For example, if there has been any inconsistency of the statements made by decision to applicants on different applications and now USCIS is taken into consideration like for example if the child has submitted asylum application to USCIS right indicating that. He’s here living with his mom and dad, you know etcetera. Now 6.7 months later, a year later they have submitted I 360 applications indicating that ohh yeah I was abandoned and neglected my my father and haven’t been living with my father since I was like 5 years old or whatever. Then then this can become, this can create a credibility. Issues, so their information of the factors are gonna be inconsistent because on your first some application you said that your father is here and now you’re saying it’s not. So that can cause the delay in the approval and it can also lead to rejection if there are yes, yes,  because it’s it’s like. Yes, yes, it’s inconsistent, yes, Yes. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fraud, right, because obviously if it’s something fraudulent or something that that even that we even like suspect a bit, we don’t represent the client and we’ll withdraw from representation. That’s absolute thing. Umm but if the applications or the statement seems inconsistent in two different factors that that that that it would be a legitimate thing for USCIS to either add these people to question it. Before denying it, you know, Right. So. So that’s us. And there’s also, of course, like. Even like after the I 360 is approved and the child is eligible to apply for their green card for SIJS applicant that I the green card application can be delayed for many as factors. One would be if they have a removal order, deportation order USCIS will not adjudicate and approve the. The green card if they have a prior removal order, so they have to file a motion to reopen with the immigration court. If their child has other immigration violations, maybe they’ll need a waiver. Or if the child has prior criminal records, so that’s something that USCIS will also consider. So it’s fact based and I invite our listeners to the right questions, right. So we can so I can answer them because I’ve done way too many of these cases. We have a lot of experience in this cases and we have seen so many different scenarios that that that that I’m able to answer a lot of questions.
  • OK Kousha, Thanks for joining us and I want to say thank you to our listeners. I hope you enjoyed and learned from today’s episode. Make sure to check out the show notes with the description for access to our website. And also make sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast. We really appreciate hearing feedback from you. So please share a review for this episode or check out our website and ask your questions. We are located in 21031 Ventura Blvd. Ste. Number 760, Woodland Hills, CA 91364. You can also call us at 213-204-6500 until the next episode. Take care and bye.