How to Bring Your Sibling to the U.S.

Updated on April 8, 2024
At a Glance:
  • To bring your sibling to the U.S., follow these five steps:

  • 1) File Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative.

  • 2) Receive Form I-130 approval and proceed to the National Visa Center.

  • 3) File an Affidavit of Support at the National Visa Center.

  • 4) Bring your sibling to the U.S. on an immigrant visa.

  • 5) Wait for the Permanent Resident Card to be issued.

  • If your sibling is already in the U.S., the process involves filing Form I-485 for adjustment of status.

  • The overall process can take several years due to the high volume of applications and country-specific waiting times.
  • Many immigrants, permanent residents, and naturalized people, at times, feel lonely in the U.S. This might be because of the cut-off from their native country and their heritage. In such cases, bringing one of their siblings to the U.S. can be a great idea to feel at home. Further, it could also allow them to advance their careers in the United States.

    As a U.S. citizen, you have the power and right to bring in natives of a foreign nation and obtain a green card for them. This can lead to them becoming U.S. citizens in the future. But to bring in someone on your behalf, you need to follow a set of procedures. This article explains the fastest way to legally bring your sibling to the U.S. and what to do if they are already in America.

    5 Steps to Bring Your Sibling to the U.S.

    To bring your sibling to the U.S., there are five steps you must complete:

    1. File Form I-130
    2. Receive Form I-130 Approval and Proceed to the National Visa Center
    3. File an Affidavit of Support
    4. Bring Sibling to the U.S. on an Immigrant Visa
    5. Wait for the Permanent Resident Card

    Each of these steps is discussed in more detail below.

    1. File Form I-130

    For starters, Form I-130 is the Petition for Alien Relative application. As for any immigration-related issue, bringing your sibling to the U.S. requires you to file an application.

    Please note that Form I-130 is used for bringing in your foreign spouses as well. When you’re applying for a sibling, you need to tick the “Third Box” of the First part which is “Relationship.”

    9 Parts of Form I-130

    The form is split into 9 parts and contains over 100 questions, some of which are compulsory while others are not or are not applicable when applying for siblings. The 9 parts are:

    1. Relationship
    2. Petitioner information
    3. Biographic information
    4. Beneficiary information (about your sibling)
    5. Other information (concerning whether you’ve previously filed a petition or have brought in other siblings)
    6. Contact information, statement, declaration, and signature of the petitioner (in this case, you)
    7. Contact information, declaration, and signature of the interpreter (if applicable)
    8. Contact information, declaration, and signature of the preparer (if prepared by someone other than you on your behalf)
    9. Additional information

    When filling out the first part, which is “Relationship,” make sure to check off brother/sister. Also, clarify whether your sibling is related by blood, is a cousin, or adopted. He/she does not have to be related by blood and you have the right to bring in a brother or sister in any relation. Just remember to clarify accordingly.

    3. Receive Form I-130 Approval and Proceed to the National Visa Center

    After you’ve filled out Form I-130 and submitted it to the USCIS, all you can do is wait to hear back from them. If you’ve submitted everything correctly and accurately, the application will be approved. This usually takes somewhere between 2 to 5 years. But the waiting time may further extend in some cases. You may be asked to wait until the priority date and the visa bulletin dates become current.

    Always keep checking the bulletin date, which can be found here. Navigate to the fourth category, which should read “Brother and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens.” Once the priority date becomes current, visit the National Visa Center.

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    4. File Affidavit of Support

    At the National Visa Center, you’ll have to file the affidavit of support along with DS forms and other supporting documents. For siblings under 21 years of age when the status becomes current, you need to give some special attention.

    You can refer to the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) for more information. Some children can be protected under the act and are deemed eligible to come to the U.S. Always talk to a reputed immigration lawyer in such cases to be on the right side of the law and avoid a rejected application.

    Once you’re done with the formalities at the Visa center, an interview will be scheduled, following which the petition will either be approved or declined.

    5. Bring Sibling to the U.S. on an Immigrant Visa

    If accepted, an immigrant visa will be issued. You can use this to bring your sibling into the States. Make sure to bring them into the U.S. before the visa expires. If you fail to do so, you will have to repeat the entire process again, which could mean 2-5 years of additional wait time.

    6. Wait for the Permanent Resident Card

    Once your sibling is inside the States, wait for the Green Card or Permanent Resident Card to arrive. It will be mailed to the address you provided on the form by the USCIS.

    Download the Bring a Sibling to the U.S. Checklist

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    Criteria for Sponsoring a Sibling for U.S. Immigration

    If you’re considering petitioning a sibling for immigration to the U.S., there are specific requirements that you need to meet. Here’s a concise breakdown:

    • Proof of citizenship
    • Petitioner needs to be at least 18 years old.
    • Established Familial Link (through blood, adoption, or marriage)
    • Petitioner must commit financially to support the sibling
    • Sibling must not possess certain criminal records or specific medical conditions

    For scenarios involving adopted, step, or half-siblings, there could be supplementary prerequisites. An immigration attorney can offer guidance tailored to your situation and suggest alternate immigration routes if meeting these conditions seems challenging.

    I-130 Processing Time for Siblings 2024

    The duration required for the approval of an I-130 petition for siblings hinges upon various factors. Among these, the current workload at the USCIS and the backlog of petitions play a crucial role. Moreover, the timeline can be impacted if there are errors or omissions in the petition.

    In general terms, a sibling I-130 petition’s approval might span between six months to a year. However, individual cases can deviate from this range, with some even extending over multiple years.

    It’s crucial to understand that post the approval of the I-130 petition, there’s an additional waiting period for the immigrant visa based on the priority date. This wait fluctuates based on the sibling’s home country and the quota for visas under the Family-Based Preference Category (F4).

    Expedited I-130 Petition for Siblings

    While it’s feasible to ask for an accelerated review of an I-130 petition for siblings, it’s essential to recognize that such requests are infrequently approved. USCIS will consider expedited processing under specific circumstances:

    • An imminent and significant financial hardship to the petitioner.
    • A pressing emergency scenario.
    • Situations that have humanitarian implications.
    • Cases serving a vital U.S. government interest.

    To forward an expedite request, a formal written appeal must be presented to USCIS. This must be supplemented with concrete evidence to validate your reasons. Suitable supporting materials might include medical documents, financial statements, or letters related to an imminent job opportunity.

    It’s pivotal to understand that just because you ask for expedited processing doesn’t mean you’ll receive it. Every request is meticulously assessed on its individual merits, with USCIS holding the exclusive right to decide on the request’s validity.

    If you’re convinced that expedited processing is essential given your circumstances, it’s advisable to consult a seasoned family immigration attorney. They can guide you in structuring a compelling case for your request.

    What If Your Sibling Is Already in the U.S.?

    For those siblings who are already present in the United States, the process for obtaining a Green Card is different. Instead of going through the above process, you just have to request to make an adjustment to their current status. But note that this is possible only if the Visa Bulletin date is current and they have noted the status on their student visa or H1B. When you are filing for an Adjustment of Status, this status has to be present. However, there are exceptions that fall under the Life Act INA 245(i).

    Follow the steps below for siblings who are already present in the U.S.:

    1. File Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status)
    2. File Form I-485 Supplement Information for Beneficiary

    These steps are explained below.

    File Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status)

    Your sibling will be considered eligible if Form I-130 is approved and the status is current. You can file Form I-485 as a petitioner. You’ll be required to submit other forms along with it, including Form I-864, I-693, I-765, G-325A, and I-13f.

    If your sibling has entered the U.S. without an EWI inspection, then more forms will be required. If that has taken place illegally and the petition has been filed before April 30, 2001, then follow the next step.

    File Form I-485 Supplement Information for Beneficiary

    This supplement form is for exception cases including siblings who have entered the U.S. illegally and cannot provide enough evidence. They can benefit from INA 245(i). Seek guidance from an immigration lawyer on this matter.

    How Much Does It Cost To Petition For A Sibling?

    As of February 2023, the filing fee for the I-130 petition stands at $535.

    Additional expenses might arise in the process, including fees for procuring necessary documents or undergoing a medical examination. The overall immigration journey might also incur other costs like travel, relocation, or legal services, and these can fluctuate depending on individual circumstances.

    It’s crucial to note that fees related to the I-130 petition can be updated. Always refer to the USCIS website or seek guidance from an immigration attorney to ensure you have the most current fee information.

    Green Card Processing Time for Siblings 2024

    Generally, siblings of U.S. citizens might wait anywhere from 14 to 16 years to secure a green card. Yet, this duration is influenced by the applicant’s country of origin:

    • For those hailing from India, the wait might extend beyond 16 years.
    • For Mexican nationals, the timeline can surpass 20 years.
    • Filipino applicants might find themselves waiting for over 24 years.

    It’s crucial to highlight that the green card categories for parents, spouses, and minor children of U.S. citizens are unique; they don’t face the same annual caps, which results in shorter waiting times for these categories.

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    Bringing Siblings to the U.S. FAQ

    Below, you will find some commonly asked questions about bring a sibling to the U.S. and their answers.

    Can I sponsor my sibling to come to the U.S.?

    Yes, if you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old, you can petition for your siblings (brothers or sisters) to live in the United States as green card holders.

    What’s the process to sponsor my sibling?

    You’ll need to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Once approved, your sibling will have to wait until a visa number becomes available for them, which may take several years.

    How long will my sibling have to wait before they can come to the U.S.?

    This can vary widely. There’s a limit to the number of family-sponsored immigrant visas available each year, and siblings fall under the “Fourth Preference” category. Depending on the country of origin, it can take several years, if not decades, for a visa to become available.

    Can I sponsor my sibling’s spouse and children?

    Yes, when you sponsor your sibling, their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also be eligible to join them.

    What evidence do I need to prove our relationship?

    Birth certificates are primary. Both you and your sibling’s birth certificates must show at least one common parent. If you or your sibling were adopted or if there were any name changes, additional documentation might be necessary.

    What happens if my sibling gets denied?

    If the I-130 petition is denied, USCIS will provide a reason for the denial. You might have the opportunity to appeal or file a motion to reopen or reconsider the case, depending on the reason for denial. Consulting an immigration attorney is advisable.

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    Frank Gogol

    I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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