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Green Card for Siblings

A U.S. citizen, (hereinafter referred to “USC”), who is 21 years or older, may petition to bring his or her sibling to live in the United States as a green card holder. USCIS defines siblings as those who are 1) blood related by sharing a common parent; 2) adopted; or, 3) by sharing a step-parent. In order to sponsor a sibling, the USC must file an Immigration Application and submit proof that the USC is a citizen of the United States. Additional documents to evidence the relationship between the USC and sibling differ on the relationship between the sibling and the USC.

Blood Related Sibling

A USC may sponsor a sibling for a green card when the USC can establish that he/she and the sibling share a common parent. If both USC and the sibling only share a mother, the sibling must produce a birth certificate to show that he or she have the same mother. If both the USC and the sibling only share a father (but have different mothers), they must produce the following: 1) birth certificates showing that they have the same father; 2) copies of the marriage certificates to each mother; and, 3) copies of documents evidencing that the prior marriages were legally terminated. If the USC and the sibling both have the same parents, then the USC and the sibling only need to produce their birth certificates to evidence their relationship.

Adopted Sibling

If the USC and the sibling are related through adoption, then the adopted sibling must submit an adoption decree and provide that the adoption took place before the 16th birthday.

Step Sibling

If the USC and the sibling are related through a step-parent, then the Immigration Application must be accompanied with the following: 1) documents of any prior marriages of the natural parent and/or step parent were legally terminated; and, 2) copy of the marriage certificate between the step-parent to the natural parent.

How long will the process take?

As soon as the USC files the Immigration Application with USCIS, the sibling will receive a receipt notice with a priority date. USCIS will adjudicate the petition within 4-6 months. Once the petition is approved, USCIS forwards to the petition to the National visa Center (“NVC”). This is where the application will remain until the sibling’s priority date becomes current. Presently, the wait is extremely long for siblings of USCs because numerous petitions were filed in previous years and there is a limited number of immigrant visas that are available each year for siblings of USCs. Currently, NVC is processing Immigration Applications that have a priority date of August 8, 2003 for siblings worldwide except for China, India, Mexico, and Philippines (the wait time for these countries is longer).

When a sibling’s priority date becomes current, the NVC transfers the petition to the U.S. consulate abroad where the sibling lives. The processing time at the U.S. Consulate and the scheduling of the interview depends upon the volume of work at the particular U.S. Consulate. Subsequent to the interview, an immigrant visa is stamped in the passport. The actual Green Card is mailed after the sibling has entered the U.S.

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