How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card as a Juvenile?

Are you a child seeking protection in the United States or a parent of a child needing a safe haven? Obtaining a green card as a juvenile can provide a pathway to stability, security, and a brighter future. However, the U.S. immigration system can be intimidating and confusing, especially when it comes to understanding the timeline for obtaining a green card.

Pathways to Securing a Green Card

Understanding the various routes to obtaining a green card as a juvenile is crucial. One prevalent route is through Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status. SIJ status is accessible to children who have suffered abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or each parent and cannot safely return to their home country. To qualify for SIJ status, a juvenile court must make specific findings about the child’s eligibility and file for a green card through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The length of the SIJ process can vary depending on several factors. First, the child must obtain a particular order from a juvenile court, which can take several months, depending on the court’s caseload and the complexity of the child’s situation. Once the child obtains the court order, they must file a petition for SIJ status with USCIS, which can take several months to process. After the SIJ status petition is approved, the child has to apply for a green card, which can take additional months to process.

Another way to obtain a green card as a juvenile is through asylum. Children who have suffered persecution or fear persecution in their home country based on their race, religion, nationality, politics, or membership in a particular social group may be eligible for asylum. Depending on their circumstances, the child must apply with USCIS or an immigration court.

The length of the asylum process can vary widely depending on the child’s case and the current backlog of cases in the immigration system. In some cases, the process can take several years from the time of application to the final decision. However, children who are granted asylum are immediately eligible to apply for a green card, which can take several months to process.

Factors That Affect the Timeline for Receiving a Green Card

Regardless of the path to a green card, several factors can influence the length of the process. One factor is the backlog of cases in the immigration system. In recent years, the number of applications for immigration has increased significantly, leading to longer processing times across the board. Additionally, changes in immigration policies and priorities can impact processing times as USCIS and immigration courts adjust to new guidelines and procedures.

Another factor influencing the length of the green card process is the completeness and accuracy of the application. Submitting an incomplete or inaccurate application can lead to delays or even a denial of the application. It is crucial to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you gather the necessary documentation and evidence to support your case and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.

Benefits of Receiving a Green Card

Despite the challenges and uncertainties of the green card process, it’s essential to remember that obtaining a green card as a juvenile can provide life-changing opportunities. A green card provides lawful permanent resident status, meaning the child can live and work in the United States indefinitely. Additionally, after five years of continuous residence, the child may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, which provides even greater stability and security.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer Today

If you are a child seeking protection or a parent of a child needing a safe haven, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance and support of an experienced immigration attorney. At Rahimi Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience helping juveniles navigate the complex immigration system and achieve their dreams of a better life in the United States. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys will work with you every step of the way to help you understand your options, gather the necessary documentation, and advocate on your behalf with USCIS and immigration courts.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward obtaining a green card as a juvenile. With our help, you can work through the immigration system with confidence and build a brighter future for yourself and your family.