Do you have a brother or sister who lives in a different country? If so, you can help them immigrate to the U.S. using the same process as a green card for parents, children, or a spouse. The first step is for you to confirm your sibling’s eligibility by establishing a valid family relationship.
U.S. citizens can file a petition on behalf of a sibling living abroad. However, lawful permanent residents of the U.S., or green card holders, cannot sponsor siblings. They must go through the naturalization process to become citizens before applying on behalf of a brother or sister.
Green Cards Through Family
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that processes green card applications. Only applicants that fall under specific eligibility categories can get a green card, which allows them to live and work in the U.S. for the rest of their lives.
The USCIS puts a cap on the number of annual approvals in some application categories, like employment-based green cards. However, there is no such cap for family-based green cards, so most immigrants gain their permanent residence through family sponsorship.
Who Can I Sponsor?
Immediate relatives like spouses, parents, or children take priority when the USCIS is processing green cards. Additionally, these family members can be sponsored by U.S. citizens and green card holders alike.
However, if you are age 21 or older and already a U.S. citizen, you also have the option to sponsor your brothers and sisters. Eligible siblings can be:
- Any age: There are no minimum or maximum age requirements for your siblings.
- Full or half-siblings: You can sponsor a sibling whether the two of you share the same mother, father, or both parents.
- Adopted or step-siblings: As long as you are legally recognized as siblings, it does not matter if you and your brother or sister are not genetically related.
Remember that during the application process, you’ll need to prove your relationship to your sibling. You can do this using birth certificates, adoption records, or applicable marriage and divorce papers that prove your family relationships.
Which Forms Are Needed?
You must first sponsor your relative by filing an immigration petition on their behalf. For family-based immigration cases, you will use Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. In addition, you will need to attach copies of the documents mentioned above that show your relationship with your sibling.
The second crucial form needed is Form I-485, Adjustment of Status. This form needs to be filed by your relative for them to receive lawful permanent residence (LPR) and green card holder status.
What Is the Process for Getting a Green Card for a Sibling?
The immigration process can be confusing, with multiple steps standing between applicants and their desired immigration status. Unfortunately, this is the case when it comes to helping your brother or sister immigrate to the U.S. and get a green card.
The process can be described using the following steps:
- You file an immigration petition, Form I-130, to sponsor your immigrating family member while they are still living abroad.
- The USCIS approves your petition and assigns a priority date.
- A visa number is available when the priority date surpasses the date in the U.S. Department of State’s visa bulletin.
- Once a visa number is available, the immigrant can apply for an immigration visa and move to the United States.
- Finally, the immigrating relative applies for a green card using Form I-485.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card for a Sibling?
Siblings are assigned a lower priority in the United States’ immigration system, given the distinction of “fourth preference” or category F4. Because of this, the wait times as you navigate the necessary steps can become very lengthy.
For example, simply getting a visa to move to the U.S. can take your sibling 10 years or more, depending on their country of origin. Then, once here, they will have to live in the United States for at least five years before they are eligible to apply for their green card.
Start Your Petition to Sponsor a Sibling Today
Because of the potential for lengthy delays during your sibling’s immigration journey, submitting your sponsorship petition earlier rather than later is a good idea. FileRight offers services that streamline the file prep process.
With our error-checking software, immigration lawyer review, and package assembly services to ensure accuracy, you can be sure that your application is ready for the USCIS. And if your claim is rejected or denied, we will refund your fees.
Take your green card qualification quiz to get started today!