Getting a Green Card for siblings is one of the categories under family-based Green Cards. Siblings are not high on the priority list and it can be a lengthy process to obtain permanent residence (Green Card). This article breaks down the process of sponsoring a sibling to be able to join you in the United States in the most efficient way possible.
Who is eligible to sponsor Green Cards for siblings?
To sponsor Green Cards for siblings, one must be 21 years old or older and a U.S citizen. Permanent residents cannot sponsor a sibling and must become naturalized citizens first.
Green Cards for siblings application process
There are 6 main steps in the timeline to getting Green Cards for siblings;
- Applying to sponsor your sibling
- Waiting for the petition to be approved
- Applying for a Green Card
- Going to the biometrics appointment
- Going to an interview and
- Receiving a Green Card.
Apply to sponsor your siblings
In order to sponsor a sibling, the sponsor must file several important documents.
The first document that must be submitted is Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
Along with Form I-130, a copy of both the sponsor’s and the sibling’s birth certificates are required. This is to prove that they have at least one parent in common.
The sponsor must also prove they are a U.S. citizen. They can prove this with one of the following documents:
- A copy of a valid passport
- A copy of their birth certificate
- A copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- A copy of their naturalization certificate
- A copy of of your certificate of citizenship
If one wishes to sponsor a brother or sister who is a sibling through adoption or paternal half-siblings, extra documents must be submitted.
If sponsoring an adopted sibling, one must also submit:
- A copy of the adoption decree(s) that prove the adoption took place before the adopted sibling turned 16 years old.
If sponsoring a sibling who is related through a step-parent, one must also submit:
- Copies of documents that prove any prior marriage(s) of either the natural parent or step-parent were legally terminated; and
- A copy of the marriage certificate of the natural parent and the step-parent
If the sponsor and the sibling have a common biological father but different mothers, one must also submit:
- Copies of the marriage certificates of the father to each mother; and
- Copies of documents that prove ant prior marriages or either the father or mothers were legally terminated
Note that if the sponsor’s name or the sibling’s name has changed since birth, it must be proven that it was changed legally. This can be proven through marriage certificates, divorce decree, court judgment of name change, or other documentation.
Wait Till Petition is Approved
One can check the status of the petition on the Case Status page.
If the petition is denied, the denial letter will tell one how and when to appeal the denial.
Once the petition is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) to continue the process.
Apply for Green Card
Once the petition is approved, the sibling can apply for a Green Card.
If inside the U.S.
If the sibling is inside of the United States, they have to adjust their status. They must have a valid current visa to be able to adjust their status.
To adjust their status, the sibling must file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status. Adjustment of status allows a person to apply for lawful permanent residence (Green Card) from within the U.S. without having to return to their home county.
If outside the U.S.
If the sibling is outside of the United States, there are more steps that must be taken to bring your sibling to the United States. They must go through consular processing, which is when one applies for permanent residence (Green Card) from their home country and the application is handled by their local U.S. embassy or consulate.
The sponsor must file form I-864, Affidavit of Support at the National Visa Center. This form is necessary because it states that the sponsor takes the responsibility of financially supporting their immigrating sibling. For siblings 21 years old and younger, refer to Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) for further information.
If the National Visa Center accepts the documentation, an immigrant visa will be issued. The immigrating sibling can use this to travel to and enter the United States. They must be brought into the United States before the visa expires or the wait time will be much longer.
Once the sibling is inside of the United States, they can apply for a Green Card.
Go to biometric services appointment
When the USCIS approves the application, they will send the sibling who is immigrating a form I-797C, Notice of Action in the mail. This form explains when and where their biometric service appointment will be and any other related information. This appointment will be where their fingerprints, photos, and signature will be taken.
Go to Green Card Interview
The point of the Green Card interview is to make sure that the sibling and sponsor are eligible as an applicant and petitioner and that all the documents and information are valid. The interviewer will often ask questions about official and supporting documents, so be sure to study all the information.
If inside the United States., the interview will be organized by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). If abroad, the interview will be organized by the National Visa Center (NVC) and will take place at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Prior to the interview, an appointment for the interview must be made months in advance. The sibling will need to bring all identifying documents to the interview.
Receive Green Card
Once everything is approved, the sibling will be issued a Green Card in the mail to their address.
How much will it cost to get Green Cards for siblings?
The approximate cost for siblings to get a Green Card is $2,045
$535 filing fee for Form I-130
$1,140 filing fee for Form I-485
$120 if form I-864 is filed inside the U.S.
$165 USCIS Immigration Fee is immigrating from abroad
$85 biometrics fee for applicants aged 14-78
How long will it take to get Green Cards for siblings?
The waiting time for siblings to get Green Cards is approximately 10 years. Based on the sibling’s country of origin, the time can be much shorter or longer. There is an annual cap of 65,000 Green Cards for siblings issued. Siblings have the longest waiting time out of all direct relatives of a U.S. Citizen.