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Filing for a green card for your sibling(s) is a life-changing process that can result in family reunification. Family-based green cards are available to eligible family members and petitioners.
Bringing your sibling to the United States can be exciting. But the path to bringing your sibling to the U.S. can also be a long one requiring time, energy, patience, and careful attention to detail. In this article, we’ll review how to petition for a sibling green card and cover the important details that you need to know about to have your sibling join you in the United States.
A sibling green card is a subsection of what is known as family sponsorship. Petitioning for relatives is an important part of the U.S. immigration process. It’s a process that may take some time depending on your family member’s preference category.
Family-based green cards generally require three main forms:
Many times, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) can petition on behalf of a family member. For a sibling green card, the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. Talk to one of our experienced family sponsorship lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for advice about sponsoring your family member to join you in the United States.
Sponsoring a sibling for a green card requires you to be a U.S. citizen. For other family-based green card applications, status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) may be sufficient. However, for a sibling green card specifically, you will petition for your sibling yourself. As the petitioning sibling, you must be at least 21 years old and be a U.S. citizen.
No, a green card holder cannot sponsor siblings for a sibling green card. You must be a U.S. citizen to petition for a sibling green card. There are three primary ways to obtain citizenship in the United States:
United States citizenship comes with many advantages, including the ability to petition for your sibling to join you in the United States under a family-based green card.
The path to citizenship is one that is often extremely long and complicated. If you have any questions about the transition from LPR status to United States citizenship—or any other questions about obtaining your U.S. citizenship—contact our experienced immigration and naturalization attorneys today.
In order to qualify to apply for a sibling green card, you need to be a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age. But who can you petition for when it comes to a sibling green card?
Although there are many different definitions of “family,” there are legal perimeters that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires for sibling based green cards:
If you have any questions about your and your sibling’s relationship in order to apply for a green card for siblings, contact your family sponsorship lawyer today.
The quickest way to bring your sibling to the U.S. is to apply immediately when you are eligible. For brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens over the age of 21, there is an extremely long waiting list to get a visa. This is because siblings of eligible applicants are the fourth preference category for family-based green cards.
The preference categories for family-based green cards are as follows:
Even though the sibling green card is a family-based green card, the process of filing for a U.S. citizen petition for a sibling takes quite a long time because it is the last preference level.
That being said, we encourage you to work with a knowledgable immigration attorney to file all of the forms correctly and expedite the process. Because of its lengthy wait time, applying for a sibling green card as soon as possible will put you higher up on the waiting list.
For you to bring your sibling(s) to join you in the United States, you will need to provide evidence that you will be able to financially support them. Doing so requires you to fill out Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
Essentially, an affidavit of support is a legal contract between you and the government saying that you will take responsibility for your sibling’s financial wellbeing so they will not have to rely on government support.
The U.S. government wants to avoid the need for your sibling to seek governmental aid. Form I-864 will show that your income is at least 125% of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines.
Until your sibling shows they are financially stable as required by USCIS standards, you will be responsible for their finances here in the United States.
There are four different types of Form I-864. Talk to your immigration attorney about which form is applicable to your scenario. Filing an affidavit of support is a part of sponsoring a sibling for a green card.
The main form that must be completed for a sibling green card is Form I-130, which is officially titled ‘Petition for Alien Relative.’ Because you are the U.S. citizen sibling, you need to petition on behalf of your sibling who is not yet a legal permanent resident in the U.S. The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535.
Filling out form I-130 is the first step in applying for a green card for your sibling(s). Working with an immigration attorney will help ensure that all forms are filled out correctly and submitted with all necessary evidence to ensure the process moves as quickly as possible.
Along with your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, there are specific USCIS eligibility requirements you must meet for a sibling green card.
Your family immigration lawyer can help you gather all necessary information. The base required documents to submit for your green card for siblings includes:
The birth certificates need to show that you and your sibling share one, if not both, parent(s).
Another document to submit along with your Form I-130 and copies of your and your sibling’s birth certificates is one that shows that you, the petitioner, is a U.S. citizen.
You only need to submit one document providing evidence of your citizenship. Eligible documents include copies of your:
In addition to these requirements, you must also submit evidence on behalf of your sibling. The evidence you submit depends on the legal relationship you both share.
If you and your sibling(s) are step-siblings—meaning related through your parents’ marriage to each other—you must show evidence that any of your parents’ previous marriages have ended. Supporting documents could include death certificates or divorce decrees.
You must also show evidence that your step-parent is married to your biological parent.
If you have a half-sibling and you biologically share a father but different mothers, you need to submit copies of your father’s marriage certificates to both your mother and your half-sibling’s mother. You also need to submit copies of divorce papers or other proof that your father is no longer married to either your or your sibling’s mom.
If you are related to your sibling from adoption, you must also submit the adoption decree for you or your sibling. In order to qualify, your sibling must have been adopted before they were 16 years old.
If either you or your sibling has had your name changed, you must submit documents of the legal name change with any other required evidence.
U.S immigration creates per-country limits, which means that each country has a certain number of people allowed to obtain visas each month. You can check where your sibling may be in the queue by looking at the Department of State’s (DOS) visa bulletin.
The dates on the visa bulletin are the priority date given to you and your sibling after USCIS has approved your initial Form I-130.
Once the Form I-130 is accepted and the visa priority date is current, then you can move forward with getting a green card for siblings through consular processing. Consular processing is the path to obtaining a green card when the sibling green card recipient is still in their home country, not the United States.
If your sibling is already in the United States when their priority date is current, then they will file Form I-485 for adjustment of status. However, you should speak with your immigration attorney about the next steps. If your sibling is in the United States illegally, there will be consequences and the sibling green card may be denied.
When your sibling is in their home country and their priority date is current, then the National Visa Center will schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate along with requesting a medical examination.
Once fully approved, your sibling will receive their immigrant visa, be able to enter the United States, and become a lawful permanent resident. Once here in the U.S., they will be sent their physical green card. The long wait will be well worth it!
Because of the preference level of a U.S. sibling visa, the wait time for application acceptance can be quite long. It’s not unusual to have a wait time of a minimum of 10 years. Some wait times can even be up to 25 years or more. That’s why the faster you get on the waiting list, the faster your application will go through.
If you are a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old, you have filed Form I-130 on your brother’s behalf, and have provided the correct information to USCIS, you can sponsor your brother and/or your other siblings to join you in the United States. But the process is not as easy as simply sponsoring your brother or sister.
Sponsorship takes a lot of time and commitment. For assistance and direction in the process of filing for a green card for your sibling(s), talk to your immigration attorney right away.
Technically, yes. If your sibling is in the United States when their visa priority date is current, you can adjust status without the need for them to return to their country of origin. However, this may be risky.
For example, if your sibling is in the United States illegally or is here because of immigration fraud—using a visa for any reason other than its stated purpose—they could get their green card application via Form I-130 denied.
The experienced immigration and naturalization lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to help with all of your immigration needs. If you have any questions about applying for a green card for siblings, our knowledgeable attorneys can answer them and represent you on your immigration journey.
Filing Form I-130 is a process that needs to be completed to perfection. If not, there is the risk that your petition will be denied. Make sure your form is filed correctly by working with an experienced immigration attorney. With over 70 years of combined experience, our law firm’s immigration attorneys are well versed in the immigration laws surrounding family-based green cards and sponsoring siblings for green cards. For more information, call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today.