Reuniting with Siblings: The Immigration Process for Brothers and Sisters
Getting green cards for your siblings can be tricky, as the category is way down the pecking order. Know their chances, waiting times, and how we can help.
Reuniting with family members is a powerful driving force for immigrants. For those who have siblings residing in another country, the prospect of bringing their brothers and sisters to the United States is a cherished dream.
Fortunately, the US immigration system offers a path for US citizens to sponsor their siblings for a green card, granting them the opportunity to live, work, and build a life for themselves here in the US. Avail our immigration lawyer’s services if you seek a green card for your sibling(s).
Let’s go over the intricate immigration process for brothers and sisters of US citizens.
Family-Sponsored Immigration: A Testament to Family Unity
Sponsoring siblings falls under the family-sponsored immigration category. It embodies the principle of preserving family unity that is at the heart of US immigration policy.
As a US citizen, you have the unique privilege to help your siblings become permanent residents. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to recognize that this process can be arduous, time-consuming, and, in some cases, frustrating.
Thus, you require a great deal of patience, with a side of green card application assistance, to go over the following motions of sponsoring your siblings for a green card.
Step 1: Filing the I-130 Petition
The journey begins with an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. This form is the formal request to establish the qualifying relationship between you, the US citizen, and your sibling. This document is of paramount importance and serves as the cornerstone of the entire immigration process.
The completed I-130 form is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and it initiates the formal process of family-sponsored immigration.
Step 2: The Wait for I-130 Approval
Once the I-130 petition is submitted, a period of waiting follows. The processing times can fluctuate, but generally, it takes several years to receive approval. It’s a challenging phase where the patience of the petitioner is tested.
Monitoring the USCIS processing times, which can be found on their official website, can offer some insight into how long your case might take. Once you receive an approval notification from USCIS, your siblings’ case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
Step 3: NVC Processing
At the NVC, your sibling’s case will be assigned a case number, and they will be placed in a queue based on the priority date. The priority date is the date the I-130 petition was initially filed, and it’s the key to determining when your siblings can proceed with their visa application.
The NVC will conduct a preliminary review of your case to ensure that all the necessary documentation and fees are in order. If anything needs to be added or completed, they will notify you and guide you on what needs to be corrected or submitted.
The duration of NVC processing can also vary, but it generally takes a few months to complete. This period of waiting is an excellent time to get a head start on the required documents for consular processing, as it can be an intricate process that necessitates careful attention to detail.
The Role of the Visa Bulletin and Priority Dates
The Visa Bulletin is managed by the US Department of State (DoS). It is an important cog in the immigration process wheel, providing essential information about visa availability.
Since sibling-based green cards fall under the F4 preference category, there are only so many green cards the department can issue. The priority date, established when you initially file the I-130 petition, is of utmost importance, as it dictates when your siblings can advance with their visa application.
The Visa Bulletin consists of two charts: The Final Action Dates chart and the Dates for Filing chart. The availability of visas for your siblings depends on which chart their priority date aligns with.
If the priority date falls under the Final Action Dates chart, it signifies that visas are currently available, and your siblings can proceed to the final stages of the process. However, if the priority date falls under the Dates for Filing chart, it means your siblings can begin preparing for the next stage.
Step 4: Consular Processing
The next stage is consular processing, which takes place in their home country after their priority date becomes current. During this phase, they are required to complete visa applications, undergo the required medical examinations, and attend interviews at the US embassy or consulate.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what your siblings can expect during this stage:
- Visa Application
They will be required to complete the DS-260, the Immigrant Visa Application. This form will ask about their background, their intended address in the United States, and their intended travel and contact information.
This information must be accurate and up to date to ensure the process runs smoothly.
- Medical Examination
The US government mandates that all immigrant visa applicants undergo a medical examination performed by an approved panel physician. The purpose of this examination is to ensure that your siblings are in good health and meet the health requirements for entry into the United States.
The results of this examination are sent directly to the US embassy or consulate, and it is crucial to ensure that your siblings are in good health to meet the US immigration standards.
- Supporting Documentation
They will need to gather various supporting documents, including their passport, visa photos, birth certificates, and any other documents requested by the US embassy or consulate.
These documents will be thoroughly reviewed during the visa interview and having them organized and ready is paramount.
- Visa Interview
One of the final steps in the process is the visa interview, which takes place at the US embassy or consulate in your sibling’s home country.
During this interview, a consular officer will assess their visa eligibility and verify the authenticity of the information provided. It is vital to ensure that your siblings are well-prepared for this interview with all necessary documents and information readily available and their contents reviewed well in advance.
Seek Immigration Application Assistance to Reunite with Your Siblings
Since your siblings qualify for the F4 preference category, they are quite far down the priority list. Increase their chances of permanent residency and decrease the wait time by getting our experienced, multilingual immigration lawyer on your side. Learn all there is to know about green cards for siblings and green cards through family in general by following our blog.
Schedule a consultation with our attorney to speed things along.