American citizens over the age of 21 can apply for a green card – also known as a green card – for their siblings. Such a sibling petition may include their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. It is a long process that takes years, even decades.
For immigration purposes, biological and adopted siblings can be requested as a brother, provided that the family bond had been fulfilled before they were both 16 years of age.
Also, citizens can request a green card for their stepbrothers. In this case, the family relationship must have occurred before reaching the age of 18.
10 steps to request a green card for a brother
- Citizens over the age of 21 can request a green card for biological siblings, adoptees, and stepbrothers.
- The process begins with form I-130, payment of the fee, and documentation that proves the relationship of siblings and citizenship of the person requesting the papers.
- Once USCIS approves the petition, years are expected for an available visa. Consult monthly updated dates from the State Department Visa Bulletin.
- When a date is available, those who can apply for adjustment of status can do so. Most must go through consular processing. The National Visa Center is, in this case, who contacts.
- More papers are filled out, answering exhaustive questions about arrests or convictions, and forms and documents are sent proving that the citizen has sufficient financial resources to sponsor.
- Medical exam
- Compilation of original documents whose copies have been delivered to USCIS and/or CNV, certified translation of all those that are not in English.
- Application approved. If the brother is outside the United States, he must enter the country within a maximum of 6 months. DO NOT open the envelope delivered by the consulate.
- Upon arrival at the immigration gate, the passport will be stamped with a stamp. It is a green card and is used to work and reside in the US until the physical document arrives in the mail.
Documents to apply for the green card for a brother
The I-130 is the document with which the green card petition for a sibling begins. It is downloaded for free..
The processing of the petition for a green card by an American citizen over 21 years of age for his brother or sister begins by submitting to the Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS, for its acronym in English) form I-130 and the attached documentation.
The I-130 is the fundamental form. It is downloaded free of charge from the USCIS website. This document is used to ask relatives. Always download the form just before filling it out. Do not risk using an old one, even if it is only a few weeks old, as it may have expired.
Also, the American citizen must prove that it is through a legible copy of one of the following documents:
- birth certificate in the Us or its territories
- unexpired American passport
- naturalization certificate
- citizenship certificate
Likewise, a copy of a document proving the relationship between siblings is necessary. Verify what corresponds, according to the cases detailed below:
It is always necessary for the American citizen’s birth certificate and the brother/sister to show if they have the mother or the father in common.
If you have the same father but a different mother, send copies of the father’s marriage certificates with each of the mothers. Also, a copy of the certificate of divorce, annulment, or widowhood shows that the father was not married to the two women at the same time.
If you have the same father but either the citizen applicant or the petition was born out of wedlock, the common father must have recognized that person before reaching 18. A copy of the legitimation must be sent.
Suppose the person requested is the son of a stepfather or stepmother, in addition to the birth certificate of the request. In that case, a copy of the marriage by which the relationship is created must be attached, which must have occurred before the citizen’s stepbrother had fulfilled the 18 years old.
If the sibling relationship occurs through adoption, you must send a copy of the adoption certificate, which must have been produced before reaching 16 years of age.
If any of the siblings’ name had changed and is different from the one they had when they were born, they must send a copy of the legal document that makes the change. For example, when you get married, by court order, by adoption, etc.
Lastly, for the I-130 fee, which is currently $ 535. check the official USCIS website if there have been any changes or dial 1-800-375-5283.
Payment can be made by money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card. In the latter case, form G-1450 must be completed and submitted to authorize the credit card transaction.
7 tips for filling out the I-130
To complete the twelve pages of the I-130 form, it is recommended to follow the following tips:
- Always use black ink, whether filling by hand or by computer.
- If additional space is needed in any response, take a blank sheet of paper, clearly put the number of the question to be answered at the top, and date and sign.
- Send copies, not original of the documents. The original will be shown at a much later time, but not for now.
- Bear in mind that this document is used for both citizens and permanent residents to ask different categories of family members. Therefore some of the questions do not matter for the case of a citizen asking brother. In that case, write the answer N / A, which means not applicable.
- If the answer to give is none, write None.
- If a copy of a document is sent in a language other than English, a certified translation must be included following this model letter.
- Verify that it has been signed by hand.
Where to send the I-130 form to ask for a sibling
The place where the I-130 form must be sent along with the additional documentation and the payment for its processing so that an American citizen can request a green card from his / her brother/sister is the following:
If the sponsoring American citizen resides in one of the following states or territories:
- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. Or you reside in one of the following territories: Mariana Islands, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or American Samoa.
There are two options:
If the package is sent by ordinary mail (US Postal Service)
PO Box 21700
Phoenix, AZ 85036
But if you prefer to send by courier service, use the following address:
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
If the American citizen requesting the papers for his brother resides in one of the following states:
- Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin or Washington DC
In all these cases, if the I-130 form and accompanying documentation are sent by ordinary mail through the US Postal Service (USPS), the address is:
PO Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-4107
If you prefer to send by a courier service such as FedEx, UPS or DHL:
131 South Dearborn 3rd floor
Chicago, IL 60603-5517.
How long does it take for a brother’s petition to be approved?
Once the USCIS receives the request in the I-130 form, additional documents, and payment, it will see if everything is in order and will send the package to one of the four Service Centers (California, Vermont, Nebraska, Texas, or the National Center of Benefits (MSC, for its acronym in English).
If the package comes at one of these departments (which one is determined according to pre-established internal rules), the applicant will receive a letter with essential details. It is what is known as NOA1. Among other data, it contains the place where the request will be processed.
And from there, you can verify the first waiting time (there will be an even longer one later).
Go to the official USCIS page on processing time, scroll down to the bottom of the page, choose the service center or MSC indicated in the letter received, click and search for the I-130 petition for a foreign relative.
Several possibilities will appear, but the only one that matters is that of a citizen’s petition for a brother or sister. And there you can see the time it is taking to complete this first I-130 approval process.
The USCIS will not respond until the processing date arrives. But if the system shows that the petition that was sent has such an old date that it should have already been processed and nothing is known, contact the USCIS.
Once the USCIS finally reviews the documentation, it can decide that:
- missing a document and allows correcting the problem.
- Approves it.
The latter case sends a new notification known as NOA2, which contains essential information, such as the priority date.
This does not mean that the sponsored sibling will surely obtain an immigrant visa. Simply that the first step has been approved, nor does it mean that the wait is about to end. Rather, a longer one begins: you have to wait to have a visa available.
In most cases, the information is no longer in the hands of the USCIS and is now in the National Visa Center (NVC, for its acronym in English) and will be there until the processing process begins.
In the few cases of sibling petitions in which it is possible to complete the process through adjustment of status, the USCIS decides on that process.
Wait for the priority date and how it is verified.
Once the USCIS has approved the petition for a sibling made by an American citizen, you must wait for an available visa before completing the processing. This process takes several years.
The reason is that by law, only a limited number of immigrant visas can be approved for siblings of citizens per fiscal year. And as the number of requests is much higher than the number of available visas, there are long delays.
Also, for people born in certain countries, the wait is even longer because it is also prohibited by law to give more than a certain percentage of the total visas to the same country per fiscal year.
The consequence of this is that there are incredibly long delays for those born in countries with high immigration to the United States, such as China, India, or Mexico.
How long is the wait?
You have to look at the Visa Bulletin published by the State Department each month. With the letter in which the priority date is indicated in hand, verify if it is older than the date stipulated for category F4, which is how petitions for siblings of citizens are legally called.
When that date arrives, if the person for whom the green card was applied for is in the United States in a position to apply for adjustment of status, they can do so.
On the contrary, if you are in another country and must complete the procedure through a consular process, the CNV communicates, and the process is activated by requesting more documentation. From there, everything goes faster, and it is all a matter of about six months, approximately.
If the priority date is older than what is published for category F4 in the visa bulletin and the CNV does not communicate, it is possible to contact them.
Procedures before the National Visa Center to ask for a sibling
In the long process of requesting a green card for a brother, one of the steps is to carry out a series of procedures with the National Visa Center (NVC).
It is the National Visa Center that gets in touch. You can contact me once the priority date has arrived or even a little earlier because that means that there is already an immigrant visa available.
Steps to do with the NVC
You will receive a letter called the NVC Welcome Letter containing essential information, including the NVC Case Number. This letter is essential; do not misplace it.
First, the NVC will ask for an agent to be selected (wait for the NVC to make that request). A person who will be in charge of representing the case, receiving the communications, and responding until completing the process.
An agent can be anyone. For example, the American citizen applied to petition his brother, sibling / on request, a friend, a relative, or a lawyer. The fundamental thing is that he be a responsible person and to whom the communications reach him.
It will be necessary to fill out form DS-261, which is done online on the Consular Electronic Application Center’s official website, to choose the agent. To access, you need to have the case number ( case number, in English) that is in the Welcome Letter at hand.
During this process, the NVC will ask you to fill out form DS-260, which is used to apply for the immigrant visa and which should be completed paying attention not to fall into errors or contradictions.
Prove sufficient financial resources to sponsor a brother
To sponsor a brother, you must prove sufficient financial resources.
The National Visa Center wants to know if the American citizen has sufficient resources to sponsor his brother from a brother’s petition. This is done in two ways:
First, filling the form the affidavit of support or Affidavit of Support. If you don’t have enough resources, check to see if you can find a co-sponsor or a member of your household who is willing to respond financially.
It is advisable to pay extreme attention and, of all the possibilities of forms for the affidavit, to choose the appropriate one according to the citizen’s economic circumstances requesting his brother.
Second, presenting evidence (send legible photocopies) that what is said is said affidavit is true.
These documents should be sent to the CNV, and other supporting documentation.
It is possible that in some consulates or Embassies, these documents are requested in a particular way or even additional documentation. If so, they will be notified in advance so that they can be contributed.