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Navigating Immigration for Siblings of U.S. Citizens

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U.S. citizens who are over the age of 21 are allowed to obtain a green card for their brother or sister who is a native of a foreign country. In addition to proving that you and your siblings share at least one parent, as a U.S. citizen petitioning for your sibling, you must guarantee that you will be able to support them financially. As their sponsor, you must also guarantee that they will not require any need-based government assistance.

Permanent residents of the U.S. who hold a green card are unable to petition their siblings to come to the U.S. In cases like this, it’s encouraged that the permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen as soon as they can in order to meet the eligibility to file a petition for a sibling.

Quota

The quota of annual visa allotments for sibling sponsorship is 65,000 a year. Siblings applying for their immigration visa can also obtain a green card for their own immediate family members including their spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21.

While it is possible to petition for a sibling, this type of immigration is at the bottom of the family preference list. If you do move forward with this type of petition, your sibling will be put on a waiting list for their visa. The wait for this type of immigration classification is typically 10 years. Depending on which country your alien sibling is from, the wait can be even longer. Nationals from countries including Mexico, India, and the Philippines may experience wait times reaching 20 years. Once the wait is over, applicants must wait an additional couple of weeks or even months to obtain their green card.

Application Process for Siblings Inside the U.S.

If the alien sibling is already inside in the US on a non-immigrant status, then their U.S. citizen sibling must file what is known as petition form I-130 on behalf of their alien sibling. The alien sibling must wait for their immigrant visa number to become current. Once it does, they will move forward with form I-485 which would adjust their status to permanent residency. During the waiting period, the alien sibling must maintain valid nonimmigrant status.

Application Process for Siblings Outside the U.S.

The procedure is a little bit different for alien siblings who are outside of the United States. In this case, the U.S. citizen sibling must file an I-130 on behalf of their sibling. Then, on the petition, they must request Immigration Services to contact the U.S. consulate in the country from which their alien sibling resides. The USCIS must approve the petition before an immigration visa becomes available. Once the visa is available, the U.S. citizen will receive “Packet 3” from the U.S. State Department. Once the forms in the packet are completed, the alien sibling can apply for an immigrant visa at their U.S. consulate. After doing so, the alien sibling will become a permanent resident once they enter the U.S. on their immigration visa.

Working With a Legal Expert

An experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process of a visa application. If you are seeking to sponsor your foreign national sibling to the U.S. or have questions about eligibility, contact our offices today. Our dedicated team of legal experts can help address all your concerns and questions.

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