When it comes to getting a US green card, sibling relationships can help. If you are a US citizen you can sponsor your brother or sister to get permanent residency in the US through US green card family sponsorship. In order to sponsor a sister or brother through US green card family sponsorship, however, you need to be a US citizen and you must be at least 21 years of age. If you meet these eligibility requirements, you can get a US green card for your sibling by:
- Filing USCIS Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). This will start the sponsorship process. Generally, as part of your application, you will need to prove your US citizenship status, your relationship with your sibling, and your qualification as a sponsor. For example, you may need to submit documentation showing that you are a US citizen, and you may need to submit birth certificates, adoption certificates, or other documentation to prove that you and your sibling are in fact related.
- Wait until the USCIS has it made its decision in your case. In general, your sibling will continue to live in their home country while awaiting the outcome of the application. In most cases, your sister or brother will not be eligible for a nonimmigrant visa to visit you while the application is pending. You can continue to check the status of your application through the USCIS website.
- Review the information that the USCIS sends you. You will generally get a letter stating that your application has been denied, accepted, or requires more information. If more information is required, send in the requested documentation as outlined in the letter. If your application has been denied, the rejection letter will typically give you information about how you can appeal the decision. If your application has been accepted, your sibling will generally get a priority date. Once this priority date becomes current, he or she can apply for entry into the United States through their local US consulate or embassy. However, keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of sibling applications accepted each year. To get a US green card, siblings sometimes need to wait many months or even years in order for their priority dates to become current.
- Once a visa becomes available for your sibling, your sibling will be contacted and your sibling will be able to apply for a visa through consular processing. Your sibling will need to submit an application for their immigrant visa, and once this is done the consulate will contact your sibling to arrange for a visa interview. You will need to submit your affidavit of support during the consular processing as well. This ensures that you have enough money and financial resources to maintain your sibling when they arrive in the United States. If your sibling is granted an immigrant visa after the visa interview, they will receive a visa packet. This packet of information must not be opened. Once your sibling has the visa packet and has been approved for a visa, he or she can travel to the United States. At the border, they will need to hand their visa packet to the border officer or official. Your brother or sister will then be evaluated for admission into the United States. If your sibling is found admissible to the US, he or she will be admitted as a green card holder, although the green card itself will generally be mailed to your brother or sister within a month or two.