Close this search box.

Green Card for Sibling

Table of Contents

If you have a brother or sister who is a citizen of another country, you may be wondering if it’s possible to help them and their dependents get a green card so that they can live and work in the United States. The good news is that it is possible! Here’s everything you need to know about getting a sibling green card for your brother or sister and their dependents. 

1. Requirements to Sponsor a Sibling for a Green Card


Before you start applying for a sibling green card, you must meet the eligibility requirements below:

  • You must be 21 years old or older and a US citizen. If you’re a green card holder, you cannot petition your sibling just yet. You must wait to become a US citizen first before you apply for a sibling green card. Evidence that you are a US Citizen is needed, this could be any of the following:
    • Your valid US passport
    • Your US birth certificate
    • Your Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    • Your Naturalization Certificate
    • Your Certificate of Citizenship
  • You must share at least one common parent with your brother or sister. A stepbrother or stepsister is eligible if your parents married before you were 18. Your parents must also remain married. For adopted siblings, the adoption must have happened before you were both 16 years old. Other legal requirements for a valid adoption must have also been met. 

2. Documentary Requirements

Once you’ve met the basic eligibility requirements stated above, you need to prove your relationship with your sibling. You will need:

  • Copies of your birth certificate and your sibling’s birth certificate. It must show that you have at least one common parent.
  • If you and your sibling are related through adoption, you will need:
    • A copy of the adoption decree(s) showing that the adoption took place before you or your sibling (the adopted child) became 16 years old.
  • If you and your sibling are related through a step-parent, you will need:
    • Copies of documents showing that any prior marriage(s) of the natural parent and/or step-parent were legally terminated, and
    • A copy of the marriage certificate of the step-parent to the natural parent (age restrictions for meeting definition of step-child apply)
  • If you and your sibling have a common (biological) father but different mothers (i.e. you are paternal half-siblings), , you will need::
    • Copies of the marriage certificates of the father to each mother, and
    • Copies of documents showing that any prior marriages of either your father or mothers were legally terminated.
  • If you and your sibling don’t share the same last name, you need to show any proof of legal name change. This can be a marriage certificate, divorce decree, court judgment of name change, etc.

If you have any concerns or questions with the adoption requirements or in proving your sibling relationship, you can consult with an immigration lawyer. Sometimes, unique circumstances, such as questions about siblings born out of wedlock, may require special attention. An experienced immigration lawyer can listen to your specific situation and provide advice. 

3. Steps for Applying for a Sibling Green Card

Now that you have all the documentary evidence prepared, you can proceed with the steps to apply for a sibling green card. 

4. Applying for an alien sibling already living inside the US

  1. File for an immigrant petition using Form I-130 at the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). 
  2. Wait for the immigrant visa number to be current, this can take many years. 
  3. Apply to adjust for permanent resident status using Form I-485. 

Note: During the waiting period, the alien sibling must maintain their nonimmigrant visa status. The foreign sibling mustn’t accrue unlawful presence in the US while waiting for their petition to be approved. 

If your alien brother or sister has been living unlawfully in the US, consult with an immigration attorney on the best course of action. The unlawful presence may create challenges in getting approved for a green card.

5. Applying for an alien sibling living outside the US

  1. The US Citizen sibling should file for an immigrant petition using Form I-130.
  2. Request in the petition for the USCIS to contact the US Consulate where the alien sibling lives.
  3. Wait for the immigrant visa number to be current, this can take many years.
  4. Complete the US National Visa Center process. 
  5. Ask the alien sibling to attend the US Consulate interview for an immigrant visa.
  6. The alien sibling becomes a permanent resident when they enter the US with an immigrant visa.

6. What to Expect After Filing the Application

Once you have filed the I-130 petition, it’s time to wait. The USCIS will notify you as soon as they receive the application. You’ll get a receipt number, which you can use to track the progress on the USCIS website. You can also sign up for automatic email updates. Since this case can take many years, be sure to notify USCIS if you move, by filing Form AR-11 online.

There are three most common scenarios: 

  1. Additional Information Requested

The USCIS needs further documentation to complete the application. They’ll send a letter indicating what documents are further required.

  1. Denied

If the USCIS denies the petition, they’ll send you a letter explaining why. Make sure you understand where the petition failed, and if you are unsure how it happened, talk to an immigration letter for help. 

You can either appeal the rejection or submit a new application correcting the error of why the first one was denied. You have limited time to appeal a denial, so you should take immediate action.

  1. Approved

The USCIS will send a notification once the petition has been approved. USCIS will forward the case to the NVC (National Visa Center) for further processing if you have opted for consular processing abroad. Whether you have chosen consular processing abroad or Adjustment of Status if your sibling is in the US, the next step is to wait for the priority date to become current. 

7. Benefits of a Sibling Green Card

Sibling green card holders enjoy most of the benefits of being permanent residents of the United States. They are allowed to work and live in the US and can become a naturalized US citizen after several years. They are legally protected by the laws of the US and can travel in and out of the country without restrictions. Their dependents (spouses and children under 21 years of age) can get a green card with them when their priority date becomes current.

8. Green Card for Siblings Processing Times 

Every year, the USCIS only grants 65,000 Green Cards for siblings. Alien siblings are not high on the priority list for direct relatives that a US citizen can sponsor. As a result, there’s a long waiting list and a longer waiting time. 

You may wonder: “How long does it take to get a green card for my brother/sister?” On average, it takes more than 10 years for siblings to get a green card. Depending on the alien sibling’s country of origin, the sibling green card processing times may be longer or shorter. 

The fastest way to bring a sibling to the USA is to start today. As soon as you become a US citizen, file a petition to apply for a green card for your sibling. Because of the quota and the long waiting line, the sooner you begin the process, the faster the petition can move up the line. 

If you would like further information or assistance with a sibling green card, please contact Ramchand & Raval to speak to one of our experience immigration attorneys.

Book a free consultation today to know your options when sponsoring your brother or sister for a US green card.

Attorneys & Passionate Advocates.

Experience Our Dedication.