Probate Guardianship and SIJS Relief for Minors

Probate guardianship is a legal process in California designed to protect children who are unable to live with their parents. This situation arises when the parents are unable to provide care due to reasons such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, or if they have passed away. A probate court can appoint a guardian to take care of the child’s physical well-being and manage their estate.

Key Features:

  • Non-Parental Custody: Guardianship is often granted to a relative or a close family friend who can provide a stable and loving environment for the child.
  • Court Supervision: The guardian’s responsibilities and the child’s welfare are supervised by the court.
  • Temporary or Permanent: Depending on the circumstances, guardianship can be temporary or until the child turns 21 in the State of California.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)

SIJS is a legal classification that can help certain undocumented children in the United States to obtain lawful permanent residency (i.e., a Green Card). To qualify, a child must be declared dependent on a juvenile court or be legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, an agency or department of a state.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Under 21 years old
  • Present in the United States
  • Unable to reunite with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law
  • It is not in the child’s best interest to return to their country of nationality or last habitual residence

Navigating Probate Guardianship for SIJS in California

  1. Seek Legal Representation: It’s crucial to work with an attorney experienced in family law and immigration matters. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific case.

  2. File for Guardianship: The process begins by filing a petition for guardianship in the probate court. This includes detailing the need for guardianship and how it serves the best interest of the child.

  3. Notify Interested Parties: California law requires that relatives and other interested parties be notified of the guardianship petition.

  4. Court Investigation: The court may appoint an investigator to interview the proposed guardian, the child, and other relevant parties. The investigator will report their findings to the court.

  5. Hearing: During the guardianship hearing, the judge will consider the evidence, listen to testimonies, and determine whether to grant the guardianship.

  6. SIJS Application: Once guardianship is established, you can proceed with the SIJS application. This involves filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including evidence of the guardianship and the juvenile court’s findings regarding abuse, neglect, or abandonment.


Navigating the process of obtaining guardianship for the purpose of SIJS relief involves multiple steps and legal complexities. It’s essential to consult with professionals who can guide you through each phase, ensuring the child’s safety and compliance with both state and federal laws. Contact us for a consultation at Amezola Legal Group.

If you are ready to schedule a consultation and meet with attorney Maricela Amezola, please use this link to schedule your appointment.