Petitioning for Your Brother or Sister's Green Card: | Eatontown, NJ

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Petitioning for Your Brother or Sister’s Green Card: From an immigration lawyer

It is a common thing for Americans to want to spend time with their families.  That is also true for immigrants.  We have previously talked about marriage based petitions and parent child petition.   


But did you know that a US citizen can apply for a green card on behalf of his or her sibling? YES! You can petition for your brother or sister to be a green card holder in the United States. 




Let us start with… 


Who can petition for their siblings?


First, you must be a US citizen. Those who are permanent residents are not eligible to apply for their siblings.  You will have to wait until you become a citizen. 


Secondly, you must be at least 21 years old and must demonstrate that you are able to financially support your siblings AND that they will not rely on U.S. government assistance.


What are the disadvantages of  petitioning for your siblings?


There is a disadvantage to this sibling petition: the number of visas issued under this category is limited and it will take years for your siblings to obtain a green card.


This type of petition is also NOT in the top of the preference list, being classified as the family fourth preference. The waiting time for you can be longer – from 10, 15 to 25 years. 


If you’re unsure of your decision, you can consult an immigration attorney to further discuss the possible immigration route that you could take.


Now let us discuss…


Who is considered a “brother” or “sister” under immigration laws?


First is a… Legitimate Brother or Sister

Basically, these are your siblings whose married mother and father are the same as yours. To demonstrate your relationship, you must show your birth certificates which should indicate the same mother and father for you and your sibling. 


Second is a… Half-Brother or Half-Sister

This refers to your sibling who have either the same mother or the same father as you – BUT not both. Similarly, you will have to provide a birth certificate to establish your relationship with your sibling. This should show the name of your mother or father that you have in common with your half-sibling. 


Third is a… Stepbrother and Stepsister

When one of your parents marries someone else, and that person has children from a prior marriage, the children are designated your stepbrother or stepsister.


To demonstrate the relationship, you must provide you and your sibling’s birth certificates, the marriage certificate of your mother or father and your step-parent, and any document that serve as proof that any prior marriage was terminated through death, divorce, or annulment.


TAKE NOTE, however, that your mother or father and step-parent must have been married before your 18th birthday to be eligible for this arrangement. 


Last is an… Adopted Brother and Adopted Sister

As the name would suggest, this refers to your siblings who were adopted by your parents in line with the laws of the state or nation in which they reside.


Under this classification, you may petition for your adopted brother or sister if the adoption processes and decree were completed before your adopted sibling’s 16th birthday.


To establish your relationship with your adopted sibling, you must provide, together with your petition, the adoption decree, AND you and your sibling’s birth certificate which must indicate the same parents


Now that we have defined who are considered a “brother” or “sister” under immigration laws, let us discuss…


How to petition for your brother or sister


Step 1: Prepare Form l-130 and the supporting documents


It is important to gather the supporting documents in filing for a visa petition. You must be organized, such as using a checklist, in order to prevent filing an incomplete visa petition, which may result in the visa petition process being delayed.


The following are the needed documents you need to gather:

  1. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative;
  2. Your birth certificate;
  3. The birth certificate of your immigrating sibling;
  4. A document proving your citizenship in the United States, such as:
    1. Current U.S. passport
    2. U.S. birth certificate
    3. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    4. Naturalization certificate
    5. Certificate of citizenship


IF you are petitioning for a step-sibling, half-sibling, or adopted sibling, you must ALSO provide the following documents:


For adopted siblings – You must also present the adoption decree of your adopted sibling. You must remember that the adoption process must be concluded before the 16th birthday of your adopted sibling. 


For step-siblings – You must present the marriage certificate of your parent and step-parent. ADDITIONALLY, you must provide any document proving that your parent’s prior marriages were legally terminated. 


REMEMBER!  IF you or any of your siblings’ names are DIFFERENT from those that appear on the birth certificate, you must provide additional documents that would explain the change in name (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, court documents, and so on.)


Step 2: File your petition


After you have completed all of the required paperwork and forms, the following step is to file your visa petition. You can file the visa petition online by creating an account at, OR by mailing it to the appropriate USCIS lockbox for your region.


You will receive a receipt notification once the USCIS has received your application and confirmed that everything is in order.


TAKE NOTE! If you relocate while the process is still ongoing, you must file Form AR-11 (Alien’s Change of Address Card) with the USCIS. You may do this online by going to  the USCIS website


AFTER the USCIS approves your l-130 petition, your sibling will be assigned a “priority date”. The priority date will assist you and your sibling in tracking the status of your immigration application. You can KEEP TRACK of it by using the State Department’s Visa Bulletin.


BUT before we continue, go ahead and click the THUMBS UP ICON (do a thumbs-up) below (point below) AND hit the notification bell to keep yourself updated about our NEW immigration-related content. 


Now let’s get back to the next step of our application process…


Step 3: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing


Once your sibling’s priority date becomes current, they can apply for an adjustment of status or apply for a green card through the U.S. Consulate (if overseas).


Most of the time, your sibling will have to undergo consular processing (applying at the local U.S. Consulate near them). They must communicate and attend the visa interview at the U.S. Consulate. 


IF your sibling is already in the United States, they may be able to adjust their status here, BUT this is highly unlikely. In most cases, they MAY NOT be eligible for the adjustment, especially if they have spent some time in the US illegally. 


BUT, there are some cases where their adjustment of status pushes through. HOWEVER, If you are not certain what applies to your case, you can seek the legal advise of an experience immigration attorney to guide you through the process. 


Once everything is in order, Congratulations! Your sibling will be granted immigration visa to the United States.


Now that we know the application process, you may wonder…


What if my petition was denied? Can I still file an appeal?


The answer to this is that… it depends. If it is stated in the denial letter sent to you that you cannot appeal, then you cannot. 

However, if it is the opposite, it will state there the reason why your petition was denied as well as the STEPS you must take to appeal, and WHERE to file the appeal. 


IF you want to discuss your case OR need help on your application or your immigration journey, you can leave a comment below or visit our website at to schedule an appointment. We will let you know if and how we can help. 

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