June 1, 2023

Sibling U.S. Petitions: What To Know Before You File

Over 732,000 family members are approved for a family green card each year. And while there isn’t a limit to how many green cards the U.S. government will issue for siblings of U.S. citizens, it often takes up to a year for your sibling to receive their green card after you file a sibling U.S. petition.

As experienced immigration lawyers, we’ll cover everything you need to know to help you file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. By following our tips, you’ll ensure you submit an accurate and complete form which should help improve processing time.

Does Your Sibling Qualify for a Green Card?

In order to petition for a green card for your sibling, the following requirements must be met:

  • You are currently a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident relative 
  • You are at least 21 years old 
  • The foreign national relative must be your sibling, spouse, parent, or child.
  • You have proof of your citizenship or lawful permanent residency status, such as a passport or green card.
  • You must also provide proof of the relationship to the foreign national relative, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other relevant documentation.

Related Link: How Can I Petition My Family Member for a Green Card?

Required Documentation You’ll Need to File for Sibling U.S. Petitions

Before you can file for a sibling U.S. petition, you’ll need the following documentation:

  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Copy of your sibling’s birth certificate proving that you have at least one common parent
  • At least one piece of evidence of your U.S. citizenship:
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • U.S. birth certificate
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Certificate of citizenship

If submitting the petition online, you’ll need digital copies of the birth certificates and evidence of citizenship.

How Long Does It Take for a U.S. Citizen to Petition for a Sibling?

Once you submit a completed petition for your sibling to get a green card to live in the United States legally, it takes about six to twelve months for your petition to be approved. While there is no limit on immigrant visas for relatives of U.S. citizens, there are a few reasons the processing time takes this long:

  • Processing backlogs: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a backlog of cases to process, and the wait time can vary depending on the current demand and available resources.
  • Priority dates: Siblings of U.S. citizens are in a lower priority category for green cards, extending the wait for their priority date to become current before their case can be processed.
  • The complexity of the petition: The time it takes for USCIS to review and make a decision on an I-130 petition can vary if the petition is more complex.
  • Additional review and security checks: USCIS may conduct additional review or security checks on some cases, adding more time to the processing time.

Three sisters hanging out

A Step-by-Step Guide for How to File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

When filing for a sibling, you need to complete Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, using either of these methods:

Filing Form I-130 Online

Here is a step-by-step guide for filing online:

  1. Create a USCIS online account. Click this link to go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Account Sign-Up page. Then click the Sign-Up button and complete the account details by following the prompts. This should only take a few minutes.
  2. Click this link to go to the Online Filing page for Form I-130. Click the File Online button.
  3. Follow the prompts and complete the form.
  4. Pay the Filing Fee. If you apply for a fee waiver, you cannot file online.
  5. The USCIS will send a receipt of the filing to your USCIS online account.

Filing Form I-130 by Mail

If you decide to file Form I-130 by mail, follow this step-by-step guide:

  1. Download Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative PDF file.
  2. Follow these instructions
  3. Send your Form I-130 and filing fee to a designated Direct Filing Address based on where you currently live.

Citizens who live outside the United States can still file a sibling U.S. petition by sending the form to the designated USCIS Elgin Lockbox address or by requesting to file at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Related Link: How to Petition for Parents to Come to the United States

How Much is the Fee for Submitting a Sibling U.S. Petition?

It costs $535 to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. You can pay the filing fee using a:

  • Money Order
  • Personal Check 
  • Cashier’s Check
  • Credit Card

You need to make all checks payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

If you are filing for more than one sibling, you’ll need to pay each filing fee separately.

Special Fee Exemptions for Afghan National Relatives

You can receive a fee exemption for your Afghan national relatives if:

  • Your relative’s country of birth in Part 4, Item 7 on Form I-130, is not Afghanistan
  • You file the Form I-130 before Sept. 30, 2023

To ensure you get the fee exemption:

  • Write clearly “OAW” at the top of your Form I-130.

Sisters getting ready for a spa day

Additional Filing Tips for a Sibling U.S. Petition 

Here are a few filing tips we recommend to ensure your petition is accepted:

  • Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements to file the form.
  • Complete all sections of Form I-130 accurately and completely. Any missing fields are an automatic rejection.
  • Sign and date your form! Unsigned forms will result in an automatic rejection.
  • Make sure your supporting documents, such as proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, are readable and clear.
  • Submit the form with the appropriate fee.
  • Provide accurate and up-to-date contact information for both you and your sibling.
  • Submit the form and supporting documents to the correct USCIS office.
  • Keep copies of all the documents submitted for your records.
  • Monitor the status of the petition through the USCIS online case status system.
  • Address any requests for additional information or evidence promptly.

Get Help from an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Related Link: Petition for Spouse: Mistakes You Need to Look Out For

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