Attorney Claudia Grégoire has ample expertise in the area of Special Immigrant Juvenile visas. These visas are available to people under 21 who have been abandoned, abused or neglected by one or both of their parents. The application process first requires a state court finding that the juvenile has suffered abandonment, abuse or neglect by one or both parents, that she cannot be reunified with her parent(s) due to mistreatment, and that it is in her best interests to remain in the U.S. Often, the juvenile presents herself before the state court by way of a guardianship petition or miscellaneous petition to establish placement or custody.
With these state court findings, the juvenile may self-petition for special immigrant juvenile status by filing an I-360 Petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile. Juveniles from certain countries may also file an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status along with the I-360 petition. Juveniles from other countries may have to wait until a visa becomes available before filing their I-485 applications. If both are approved, the juvenile becomes a permanent resident (green card holder). She cannot file family-based petitions in the future for either of her parents. The special immigrant juvenile visa and subsequent I-485 (green card) application frequently serve as an effective defense against removal from the United States.