Guardianships for immigrant youth (under 21 years old)
A guardianship of the person can be set up for immigrant youth under 21 years old if they need state court findings for a special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) application. If they already have a guardianship, it can be extended. The youth, if at least 18, must consent to the guardianship.
Talk to an immigration lawyer
This site has instructions on how to set up a guardianship to get state court findings. It does not have information on federal immigration laws.
Guardianships typically cannot last past a child's 18th birthday. Allowing guardianships for youth 18 to 20 years old is a special process just for young adults seeking special immigrant juvenile status in federal immigration court.
Set up a guardianship for an immigrant youth
To set up a new guardianship for someone under 21 years old for purposes of SIJS:
1. Follow the instructions on how to start a guardianship case.
- The youth should sign the consent on the Petition. The youth can consent to the guardianship petition by signing page 4 of the Petition for Appointment of Guardian of the Person (form GC-210(P)) or page 3 of the Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor (form GC-210).
- When you file the Petition to Appoint a Guardian, also file a Petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Findings (form GC-220).
- Do not request a guardianship of the estate. These are not allowed once a child turns 18.
2. Go to a court hearing to get the court order you need for your immigration case.
You will likely go to a court hearing when you file your request to the court for the findings you need for your SIJ application. If the court grants your request, your lawyer or the court will prepare a court order, called Special Immigrant Juvenile Findings (form FL-357/GC-224/JV-357). You need this order for your immigration case.
Extend an existing guardianship past the youth’s 18th birthday
Before the child turns 18, the existing guardian, another interested person, or the youth can:
1. Fill out 2 Petition forms and a Notice of Hearing.
- Petition to Extend Guardianship of the Person (form GC-210(PE))
- Petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Findings (form GC-220)
- Notice of Hearing--Guardianship or Conservatorship (form GC-020). Fill out the caption (top of the page) and #1 of the Notice.
Make 2 copies of each form.
2. File Petitions and get a court date.
File the Petitions in the probate department. The court clerk will give you a court date for the Notice of Hearing. The clerk will stamp and give you back the copies
3. Deliver the forms and file Proof of Service.
Have another adult, not you or anyone else who is a party in the case, mail a copy of the Petitions and Notice of Hearing to anyone required to get notice.
After your server mails the Petition and Notice, they need to fill out and sign Page 2 of the Notice. If they served more than 4 people, they can fill out and attach the Attachment to Notice of Hearing (form GC-020(MA)). This is the proof the court requires to show the papers were served.
4. Go to a court hearing.
You will likely have a court hearing so a judge can decide whether to make the findings you need for your SIJ application. If the judge grants your request, generally your lawyer, or if you don't have a lawyer and ask, the court will prepare a court order, called Special Immigrant Juvenile Findings (form FL-357/GC-224/JV-357). You need this order for your immigration case.