How Can I Help My Brother or Sister Get a Green Card?
Many people who immigrate to the U.S. leave families behind. For some U.S. immigrants, helping a sibling or family member follow in their footsteps is a top priority.
If you’re wondering how you can help petition your brother or sister to immigrate to the U.S., you’re not alone. Keep reading to learn more about eligibility requirements and steps you can take to help a family member obtain a green card.
How to Sponsor a Sibling to Immigrate to the U.S.
The process to apply for permanent residence in the U.S. can be daunting. Not only can immigration laws create confusion and uncertainty, but the processes involved are often time-consuming and costly. Unfortunately, many people seeking a green card or another form of residence in the U.S. find themselves facing a very long waitlist.
Rest assured that with patience, the ability to follow instructions, and the legal guidance of an experienced immigration attorney, helping a sibling or relative obtain a green card is very doable. To successfully sponsor a sibling’s immigration to the U.S., you must first establish whether or not they are eligible for a green card.
Eligibility Requirements to Sponsor a Sibling
To learn how you can help a brother or sister immigrate to the U.S., it’s important to know whether or not you’re eligible to sponsor them. Those who wish to be a green card sponsor to a sibling or family member must meet the following criteria:
- You must be at least 21 years of age.
- You must be a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and green cardholders aren’t eligible to sponsor a sibling’s immigration.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the sponsor’s sibling must be one of the following:
- A brother or sister with the same parents as the petitioner
- A half-sibling related through a stepparent
- A stepbrother or stepsister
- An adopted sibling
Keep in mind that there may be additional documentation required to sponsor an adopted sibling, stepsibling, or paternal half-sibling, although all three are eligible for green card sponsorship.
3 Steps to Help Your Sibling Obtain a Green Card
There are various steps to successfully sponsor a sibling’s immigration to the United States. It’s imperative to follow all instructions and guidelines set by the USCIS to achieve the results you desire. Keep reading to learn 3 key steps to becoming a green card sponsor for your sibling.
#1: Fill out a Petition for Alien Relative form.
The green card sponsor must first complete a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). Make sure to fill out the form in legible black ink. All non-English documents must be translated into English prior to submission for the petition to be valid.
The petitioner should also double-check that they didn't overlook any required signatures or leave any sections blank. If a section on the form doesn't apply to you, simply write "N/A" (not applicable).
#2: Include all required documentation.
Providing sufficient documentation as evidence of eligibility is a foundational step to becoming a green card sponsor. The USCIS requires certain documentation to process your petition. Make sure you submit:
- A separate completed I-130 form for each sibling if you’re sponsoring more than one family member. You do not need a separate form if you’re also sponsoring your sibling’s spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old.
- A copy of both your birth certificate and your sibling’s birth certificate that shows you share a common parent. If your sibling is related to you through one biological parent, adoption, or remarriage (stepsiblings), additional or different documentation may be required. (See below for more information on this.)
- Proof of citizenship. The petitioner must provide valid documentation (a copy will suffice) to show they are a U.S. citizen. Accepted forms of identification include a valid U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship.
Documentation for Adopted Siblings, Stepsiblings, & Paternal Half-Siblings
In the case that you’re sponsoring an adopted sibling, stepsibling, or half-sibling, additional documentation is required. For adopted siblings, the petitioner must include:
- A copy of the adoption decree that shows the adoption took place before you or your adopted sibling was 16 years old.
If you’re sponsoring a stepsibling, you must include:
- Copies of documents that show any prior marriage(s) of the biological parent and/or stepparent were legally terminated.
- A copy of the marriage certificate shared by the biological parent and stepparent.
If you’re sponsoring a paternal half-sibling (with whom you share the same father but have different biological mothers), you must include:
- Copies of the marriage certificates of the father to each mother.
- Copies of documents that show any prior marriage(s) of either mother or father were legally terminated.
#3: Your sibling will apply for a permanent resident card.
The third and final step will look slightly different depending on whether your sibling is in the U.S. or resides outside of the country.
If Your Sibling Is in the United States:
Before applying, your sibling will need to wait for you (their sponsor) to:
- File the Petition for Alien Relative form
- Receive an immigration visa number
Once you receive the immigration visa number, your sibling can use it to begin their application for adjustment of status (green card). During the waiting period, your sibling can track the status of the I-130 form using the State Department’s Visa Bulletin, which shows where they are on the waitlist and when they may proceed with their green card application.
If Your Sibling Is Outside the United States:
If your sibling doesn’t reside in the U.S., they will need to apply via consular processing. This simply means that your sibling’s application will be processed by a local U.S. Embassy or consulate. Keep in mind that consular processing is not the same as adjustment of status, and your sibling must wait in their home country until their U.S. green card is approved.
After the immigrant visa petition is approved and a visa number becomes available, you (the sponsor) will receive Packet 3, which contains further instructions and forms to fill out. After you complete the required paperwork, your sibling will visit the U.S. Embassy or consulate to apply for their immigrant visa.
Your sibling will officially be a green cardholder and permanent resident once they enter the U.S. with their visa.
Passionate Advocacy for Immigrants
Our compassionate team at Maghzi Law Firm, LLC understands how confusing and complex immigration law can be. Thousands of honest, hardworking people attempt to lawfully immigrate to the U.S. each year, only to be confronted with endless roadblocks and perplexing processes. Sadly, it isn’t uncommon for deserving immigrants to be forced to wait 10 years or longer just to obtain a green card.
That’s why we’re committed to making it easier for you to move to the United States and create a better, brighter future for yourself and your loved ones. With a sole focus on immigration law, our firm is driven, resourceful, and well-equipped to help you pave the path to American freedom.
As an immigrant herself, our founding attorney Ameneh Maghzi can relate firsthand to the struggles our clients face. She is not only a powerful advocate in the courtroom; she’s also a compassionate guide to each and every client she serves—and has a successful track record to prove it.
You don’t have to muddle through the complexities of immigration law alone. Call (843) 800-2750 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation.