Filing On Behalf of Foreign Siblings for a US Green Card

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The US makes it possible for the family members of US citizens and U.S. green card holders to immigrate to the US. If you are a US citizen who is at least 21 years of age, for example, you can sponsor your brothers and sisters for a family green card. For your siblings, a green card can permit them to live and work permanently in the US.

To start the family green card process for your brother or sister to get a green card, you must file Form I-130 with the USCIS. As part of this form, you will need to prove that you are a US citizen. This means that you will need to submit a copy of your US birth certificate, US passport, certificate of citizenship, naturalization certificate, or a copy of other USCIS-approved documentation that proves your status. In addition, when filing a petition, you must also submit documentation that shows your family relationship with your sibling. For example, you can submit a copy of your birth certificate and your sibling’s birth certificate, showing that you have one or both parents in common. If you are sponsoring an adopted sibling or a step-sibling, you may need to submit copies of adoption papers or other proof of your relationship. The instructions for USCIS Form I-130 clearly indicate which documentation the USCIS requires.

Once the USCIS approves the petition, you will receive a priority date and a visa number from the State Department. Your sibling must wait until the date is current before applying for a US green card. Unfortunately, a green card for a brother or a green card for a sister can take a long time to achieve because the priority for sibling family green cards is very low. Most siblings applying for a green card must wait many years to actually receive their family green card. There is no way to speed up the process and your sibling will not be allowed to live in the US until they receive their family green card. For this reason, if your sibling can enter the US as an immigrant through other means, you may wish to explore this option as well.

Once the priority date is current, your sibling must visit their local US consulate to apply for a green card. If your sibling already lives in the U.S., they need to file Form I-765 to apply for a work permit and USCIS Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).