As long as you are at least 21 years of age and a citizen of the United States, you are able to sponsor your brother or sister for “Green Card” status. You are not able to sponsor a sibling if you are merely a Lawful Permanent Resident. As your sibling’s sponsor, you must be able to show that your household income is sufficient to support your family and your brother or sister—at least 125% above the U.S. poverty level for your household size. The process of bringing your sister or brother into the country begins by filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). The filing fee for this form is currently $420, so be prepared for this initial payment.
While immediate relatives (parents, spouses, children) have no wait for a visa number, there are four separate preference categories with different waiting periods for each category. Unlike the category for immediate relatives, these preference categories are backlogged. Unfortunately, siblings qualify as fourth preference and therefore have the longest waiting period—depending on your country of origin, you should expect to wait at least 10 years. Do not be discouraged—this simply means you should file your I-130 as quickly as possible. . Many people don’t even bother filing the petition on the grounds that it will take too long, but the sooner you file your petition the closer you are to being reunited with your brother or sister. Filing the I-130 places your sibling in line with others waiting to immigrate from the same area. Once your brother or sister reaches the front of this waiting line, he or she must pass the required background checks and meet all requirements for admission into the country.
Once your sibling’s I-130 is approved, he or she must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available according to the preference system. To determine when to file your I-485 (Adjustment of Status), you must consult the visa chart that the Department of State publishes monthly on their website.
Alternatively, you can call 202-663-1541 where a recorded message will read you the dates. The chart can be confusing, but follow these simple steps. Check your I-130 approval notice to locate your priority date—this is usually found in a box in the upper left corner. In most cases, your priority date is the date that you filed the I-130 petition. Then, find the cut-off date that applies to your country and preference category. Compare your priority date and cut-off date—if your priority date has passed the cut-off date, you may go ahead and file your I-485. If not, you must wait until the dates correspond. The cut-off dates tend to move backwards and forwards rapidly, though the fourth preference category typically progresses less than one month for each calendar month.
It is very important that you wait until the priority date passes the cut-off date—it cannot just be in the same month. If a USCIS officer sees that the visa was not current at the time the petition was filed, the application will be denied and you will have to start over and file a new application. Also note that your sibling must wait outside the United States until they are able to immigrate legally. To avoid excess waiting, make sure you send all of the required documents the first time around. Though it usually takes years for your sibling to enter the U.S., file your I-130 as soon as possible. Time flies, and your sibling will be waiting for you at the finish line.
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.