If you are a US citizen by birth or naturalization you can petition the government to issue a green card for a sibling who is a citizen of another country. Only US citizens have this right. Legal Permanent Residents cannot sponsor a sibling unless they become naturalized US citizens.
The process for getting a sibling legally into the country as a permanent resident, like any immigration process, is not all that cut and dried. We’ve put together brief answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions about the topic in hopes of helping those that are trying to get their brother or sister (and their families) into the United States on a permanent basis.
1. What’s the definition of a “sibling”?
A sibling is a brother or sister, a step brother or sister or an adopted brother or sister. To be siblings both persons need to have at least one common parent and should have been “children” of that parent at the appropriate age (no later than 16 for adopted children or 18 for step children). The common parent does not have to be the biological parent.
2. How fast can you get a green card for a sibling?
The answer to this question depends on where the sibling lives. Sibling visas are family based visas. Priority for family visas is divided into five categories the top (with the most visas available) is spouse and children and the least priority goes to siblings. There must be a visa number available at the time of the application. You can check to see if numbers are available at the Visa Bulletin published monthly on the Department of State’s website. Time involved can be as little as 6 months to many, many years.
3. How do I petition for a sibling?
The form that is used is the same as would be used for any relative the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative which can be downloaded at the USCIS site. What’s different is the supporting documents that will be required. Each relationship requires different documentation. For example if you are petitioning for a sibling who you share the same mother with there is one set of documents. Sharing the same father is another set of documents. Read the instructions carefully. When the form is completed you submit it to the USCIS Regional Service office in your area.
4. What happens after I file the petition?
The USCIS will make a determination to approve or reject your petition. If USCIS approves the petition and if your sibling is residing in a foreign country, the Department of State will notify him or her when a visa number is available and which consulate to report to for a visa interview. If you sibling is legally in the US on a non-immigrant visa he or she can apply for an adjustment of status to Permanent Resident.
5. Can I appeal if my petition is denied?
The short answer is yes you can but it would be foolish to attempt it without an attorney representing you. The USCIS has to tell you why they denied the petition and which appeals court you should apply to. This process is not appealant friendly and missing a single deadline for any of the documents can be cause for tossing the case out all together. Find a qualified immigration lawyer with specific experience in appealing petitions.
Getting a sibling to the United States can be a long and drawn out process. Make sure that both of you, and your siblings spouse and children if applicable, understand the process so that unwarranted expectations aren’t created.
Eugene Jones is a principal in www.ImmiGreatNow.com.com which provides web solutions for family Immigration. Eugene is also a principal in www.connect4business.com a lotus domino manufacturing solution and www.nauvou.com.com web based solutions for customer support.