Updated On: 28th March 2023
Under US immigration law, siblings are eligible for permanent residency through the family-based green card program. To apply for green cards for siblings, a US citizen should sponsor the sibling as a first step by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. After the approval when visas become available, the siblings can apply for a green card.
This type of green card falls under the fourth preference family (F4) category. However, due to its low priority on the processing list, obtaining a sibling green card can be a lengthy process for permanent residency. This article provides a detailed breakdown of the sponsorship process and the fastest ways to bring a sibling to the United States.
Eligibility Requirements for a Sibling Green Card
The first eligibility to sponsor Green Cards for siblings, you must be 21 years old or older and a U.S citizen. Permanent residents cannot sponsor a green card for siblings. Based on the family relationship U.S. Citizen’s brothers and sisters can apply for the green card. As per USCIS, below are the categories considers as siblings.
- Siblings (brothers or sisters) who share the same birth (biological) parents
- Half-siblings who are related through one parent who has remarried
- Step-siblings who are not biologically related but share a parent through remarriage
- Adopted siblings who are not biologically related but have been legally adopted into the same family
Read Also: Possible ways to Get a Green Card
Documents Required for a Sibling Green Card
- The U.S. Citizen who is sponsoring the siblings must provide proof of citizenship like
- citizenship certificate copy
- naturalization certificate copy
- U.S. Passport copy
- U.S. birth certificate copy
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad copy
Any one from the above listed documents.
- Birth Certificate copy of U.S citizen’s and siblings to show that have one common parent
- If the sibling is adopted must submit adoption certificate copy
- If the sibling related to step-parent, prior legal marriage termination copy and marriage-certificate to natural parent
- If it is half-sibling (common father), marriage certificate of your father to each mother and prior legal marriage termination copy
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Green Card for Siblings Application Process
Step #1: Submit Form I-130 Petition
To start the green card process for siblings, the sponsoring U.S. citizen needs to file USCIS Form I-130. You need to provide the aforementioned documents related to your case. Along with this form, payment, proof of citizenship, and proof of the sibling relationship must be submitted.
Step #2: Submit Form I-864
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 responsibility for financially supporting their immigrant sibling. The U.S. government aims to prevent your sibling from needing to seek government assistance.
To demonstrate this, you will need to provide Form I-864, which confirms that your income is at least 125% of the Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines. For siblings 21 years old and younger, refer to the 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 enter the United States if they are outside the U.S. They must be brought into the United States before the visa expires, or the wait time will be much longer.
Step #3: Apply for Green Card
Once the I-130 petition is approved, the sibling can apply for a Green Card. The process of applying for a Green Card depends on their location, inside or outside the U.S.
Inside the U.S.
If the sibling is inside the United States, they should apply through adjustment of status. Once the I-130 petition has been filed, they need to wait for the immigrant visa number to become available. This wait time depends on the priority date in the visa bulletin.
To adjust their status, the sibling must file USCIS 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 country.
If outside the U.S.
If the sibling is outside the United States, they should apply through consular processing. They will need to file Form I-130 and request that USCIS notifies the U.S. consulate in their home country.
Once the immigrant visa petition is approved by USCIS and a visa becomes available, the National Visa Center (NVC) of the State Department will send “Packet 3” to the sibling. The sibling will need to fill out the forms provided in the packet, and then they can proceed to apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
Upon entering the United States on this immigrant visa, the sibling needs to surrender their visa packet to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry. The CBP officer will check them and assess their eligibility for admission as lawful permanent resident. If the CBP officer admits them, they will then obtain lawful permanent resident status and have the ability to permanently live and work in the United States.
Read Also: How to Get a Green Card for Parents
What is the Cost of Obtaining a Green Card for a Sibling?
You have to pay separate filing fees for each form submission to obtain green card for a siblings.
- Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 – cost $535
- Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, Form I-485 has different filing fees. The filing fees depends on yours’ situation. For the age 14-78 the form fee will be $1,140 with $85 biometrics, and for the age above 79 there is no biometrics fees. Visit USCIS for complete fee information.
- Affidavit of Support, Form I-864 cost $120 if you file from abroad and no cost if you live in the U.S.
Approximately you need to pay $1,760 for entire application to be processed. Apart from these cost, if you have any document to be translated or lawyer consultation you need to pay extra for the same.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Sibling Green Card?
Obtaining a green card for a sibling can be a lengthy process due to the limits imposed by U.S. immigration laws. Sibling visas fall under the Fourth Preference category, which is the lowest priority for family preference categories.
Since the U.S. Government has set a limit of 65,000 green cards in this category per year as limit the wait time will reach 10 years for most countries. You need to read the visa bulletin for the green card availability.
What to do If Your Sibling Green Card Denied?
If your sibling green card application has been denied, first you will be notified by mailing as denial notice. In that denial letter you can come to understand the reasons for the denial of the application. USCIS determined that your sibling is not eligible to get a green card. Sometimes USCIS make mistakes on the case status. Check the notice carefully and need to response accordingly. You will not get the filing fee back if USCIS denied your applications.
You can appeal for the denied application. How to appeal and when to appeal your denied application will be notified in the denial letter. You need to pay the fee for your appeal and it will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The best way to appeal your denied sibling’s green card application is to consult with the lawyer or immigration attorney and get the best solution.
When a U.S. citizen brings his or her siblings to the U.S., the sibling’s spouse and children are also eligible to get a green card and live in the United States. If the sibling’s spouse and children did not get permanent residence at the same time, they are eligible for follow-to-join benefits. There is no requirement to file separate I-130 forms for spouses and children and there is no extra wait time. You have to inform a U.S. consulate that you are a green card holder so your spouse or children can apply for an immigrant visa.
The sibling’s children must be under the age of 21 and unmarried. The eligibility for siblings’ spouse or children is:
- They must be in the same relationship at the time you got your permanent residence and exists
- You got your immigrant visa or adjusted status in a preference category
If the above conditions met by you, submit the following:
- A completed Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition
- Original application or petition copy you used to apply for immigrant status
- Form I-797, Notice of Action, copy for your original petition
- Form I-551 (Green Card) copy
You can file Form I-485 and Form I-824 concurrently, if you live in the U.S. and not adjusted your status to permanent resident. You can contact National Visa Center (NVC) for follow-to-join information if you received the overseas immigrant visa.
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