siblings

Although there are visas for non-family-based immigration, the vast majority of immigration to the United States occurs through family immigration. Spouses, parents, and children can petition immediate family members like their spouses, parents, and children. What if you want to sponsor a non-citizen sibling, however? Is that possible at all, and if it is, can a permanent resident be a sponsor for their sibling? Keep reading to find out, as this article will explain who can be a sponsor for a sibling and how they may do so. If this is similar to a situation you or a loved one may be facing, be sure to reach out to a New York City family immigration attorney as soon as possible.

What Is the Process for Me to Sponsor My Sibling?

Unfortunately, permanent residents are not allowed to petition to bring their citizens to live in the United States. United States citizens 21 years and older, however, can sponsor their siblings for a green card.

If you are a U.S. citizen, this is how the process of sponsoring your sibling begins. You as the sponsor, also called the petitioner, will need to submit:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your and your sibling’s birth certificates to demonstrate you have at least one parent in common
  • Evidence of your United States citizenship, like a copy of a valid U.S. passport or a copy of your naturalization certificate

In the case of an adoptive sibling relationship, you should submit a copy of the adoption decree showing that the adoption happened before either you or your sibling were 16 years old. On the other hand, when you and your sibling are related by a step-parent, you will need to instead send documents to prove that the previous marriages of your parents terminated legally and a copy of the marriage when your parent married your step-parent. Similarly, when siblings share one biological parent but not the other, you should send copies of marriage certificates between the parent in common and each of the other parents, as well as any documents which prove that previous marriages of your parent in common or other parent were legally terminated. When you or your sibling have changed your names, you should submit proof that the name change was legal.

What About My Sibling’s Spouse and Children?

Importantly, if your sibling wishes to bring their spouse or unmarried children, you do not need to submit another application for them. Your sibling may be able to apply for their entry through a concept called “follow-to-join benefits.” Not only is it unnecessary to fill out an additional form for spouses and children, but they will not even need to wait more time until a visa number becomes available.

Instead, you will notify a United States consulate that you have become a permanent resident, and this will allow your spouse and/or children to apply for an immigrant visa.

As long as the relationship on which the petition is based, spouse or child, also existed when you applied to a be a permanent resident, that the relationship still exists, and that you either received an immigrant visa or adjusted your status, you are allowed to submit the following on behalf of your spouse or child Form I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, completed and filled out. You’ll also have to submit a copy of your original petition (when you applied for a new immigrant status), a copy of your Form I-797 Notice of Action (that you used in your original petition for yourself), and a copy of your Form I-551, meaning your green card.