Can I Sponsor My Brother or Sister for a Green Card?
The U.S. immigration system can be a complex and frightening process to navigate as a foreign-born citizen, especially when it comes to sponsoring a sibling or other relative to join you in the U.S. Like all U.S. immigration processes and procedures, successfully sponsoring a brother or sister for a green card isn't without its challenges.
While family-based petitions are a common path for immigrants to bring siblings and other family members to the United States, it can be a long and arduous road to complete this process effectively and efficiently, if at all. How can foreign-born citizens help their siblings join them in the U.S.?
Keep reading to learn more about eligibility requirements, restrictions, and step-by-step instructions to sponsor a sibling for a family-based green card.
Family-Based Petitions for Immigrants in Florida
Sponsoring a sibling for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. can be complex for many reasons. One potential difficulty entails the detailed restrictions outlined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This Act imposes specific requirements that must be met before an individual can qualify for a family-based green card.
Who Is Eligible for Family Immigrant Visas?
In order for family-based green card applications to get approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration, or USCIS, petitioners must establish valid familial relations under the INA. To sponsor a sibling or relative for a green card under USCIS requirements, the petitioner must be:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 21 years old
Assuming the above criteria apply, the petitioner may be eligible to sponsor a sibling, parent, child, or spouse to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or green card holder in the United States. Sponsors must also prove that their siblings are not subject to any of the applicable bars or restrictions on admission into the United States outlined in INA Section 212(a).
5 Steps to Bring Your Sibling to the U.S.
From collecting sufficient evidence to following strict regulations, navigating bureaucratic hurdles can be time-consuming and emotionally taxing for many family-based green card petitioners. Without trusted guidance from an immigration lawyer, the U.S. immigration system can be a never-ending path to disappointment and rejection.
Seeking reliable legal counsel is a crucial first step to successfully bringing a sibling to the U.S., as a qualified legal advocate can assess your case and help you avoid fatal missteps that can cost you the ability to protect or reunite with family.
Keep reading to learn 5 steps petitioners can take to sponsor a relative for a green card in the United States.
1. File Form I-130.
To begin, the petitioner must start by filing a “Petition for Alien Relative” application (Form I-130) with USCIS. To be successful, petitions must be completed thoroughly and in their entirety. Applicants should keep these important tips in mind when filing their I-130 form:
- Complete the application in its entirety. Petitioners must fill out every section of their I-130 form, as leaving parts blank can result in their application being denied. If a particular section doesn’t apply to your unique circumstances, applicants can simply write “N/A.”
- Follow all application guidelines meticulously. The U.S. immigration system requires noncitizens to follow strict guidelines when it comes to USCIS applications and petitions. Petitioners should take care to write or type legibly in black ink only and double-check that all required signatures are included in the application before submission.
- Comply with photograph submission instructions exactly. Any submitted photographs in USCIS applications must follow certain rules, including the use of a plain background and removing any sunglasses or eyeglasses beforehand. Click here to familiarize yourself with the USCIS guidelines for photograph submissions.
- Make sure to include all required evidence. Supporting documentation is required for USCIS applications to be valid and ultimately get approved. Petitioners should take care to ensure they are including all required evidence before filing Form I-130, as failure to do so can delay the family-based green card petition and/or result in an automatic rejection.
2. Wait for your application to be approved by USCIS.
Depending on the circumstances, applications for family-based green cards can take anywhere from 2-5 years for approval. At this stage, applicants must wait to hear back from USCIS to learn whether their application was approved or not. Only then can they determine their next steps.
3. File an “Affidavit of Support” at the National Visa Center.
After receiving USCIS approval for their family-based green card petition, applicants must visit the National Visa Center to file an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864). An Affidavit of Support is a legally enforceable contract that holds the sponsor responsible for the relative they're applying for. This is required for family-based petitions to demonstrate that the petitioner has adequate financial resources and the means to support their relative upon their arrival in the U.S.
4. Receive your sibling’s immigrant visa.
If the petitioner is allowed to proceed, they will undergo a scheduled interview after visiting the National Visa Center, during which their application will be approved or denied. Upon approval, the petitioner’s sibling or relative will be issued an immigrant visa that allows them to enter the U.S.
5. Wait for your sibling to receive their green card.
After entering the U.S., the sibling or relative must wait for their green card—also known as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) card—to arrive.
Zealous Advocacy for Florida Immigrants & Their Families
Since 2004, our dedicated immigration lawyers have tirelessly advocated on behalf of Florida immigrants in their families. We have extensive and diverse experience representing noncitizens in Miami and beyond in a wide range of criminal and immigration issues, from crimmigration disputes to applying for naturalization.
Our firm has a longstanding reputation for providing personalized legal services and sound counsel with integrity and compassion. If you or a loved one requires assistance with immigration matters in Florida, don’t hesitate to reach out to our passionate immigration attorneys at Hubbs Law, P.A.
Whether you’re trying to reunite with family on U.S. soil or escape dangers you left behind, our Miami immigration lawyers can help. Call (305) 570-4802 to schedule a free consultation.