We tell you how a US citizen can petition for a sibling and what benefits he/she gets in the United States.

All U.S. citizens have the possibility to petition for some of their relatives to receive the benefits of the naturalization process and become U.S. citizens. For this purpose, there are some visas for family members of citizens, which include the closest relatives such as children and spouses, as well as parents and siblings. Below we tell you all about these visas and how a U.S. citizen can petition for his or her sibling to come to the United States.


How can a U.S. citizen petition for a sibling?

On the basis of family ties, any U.S. citizen over the age of 21 can petition for various family members to come to the country so that they can benefit from their relative’s citizenship and thus be able to obtain permanent residency. For this type of family petition visas there are two categories of family members, the immediate family members which are the parents, spouses and children of the U.S. citizen; and on the other hand, there are the family preference ties which include adult children, siblings and step-siblings.

The latter is the case we are interested in addressing, since we want to find out how a U.S. citizen can petition for a sibling. This type of visas has a limited number for each fiscal year, so their delivery is not immediate. To be aware of the availability of sibling visas, it is necessary to check the priority dates in the Visa Bulletin. Once the application for family petitions has been enabled, the bureaucratic immigration procedures must begin, which will depend mainly on the place of residence of the sibling of the petitioning U.S. citizen.

What are the requirements to petition for a sibling as a U.S. citizen?

The requirements for you to successfully petition for your sibling and benefit your brother or sister vary depending on whether your sibling is located inside or outside the United States.

If your sibling is in the country on the basis of lawful presence, the requirements are as follows:

  • File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Wait until a visa number is available in the Visa Bulletin.
  • File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  • In the event that your sibling obtained an immigrant visa petition or labor certificate prior to April 30, 2001, it is required that his or her lawful immigration status has remained the same and continuous. If this is the case, it is possible to make the adjustment of status and benefit from naturalization and the possibility of applying for permanent residence.

If your sibling is outside the country the requirements are:

  • File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • When the Form is approved it will be sent for consular processing. The appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate will provide you with information on the process and next steps.

On the other hand, you as a U.S. citizen will be required to submit a completed and signed Form I-130 and have previously paid the appropriate fee. In cases where the petitioned sibling has a partner and/or unmarried children under the age of 21, you will not need to file a separate Form I-130.

In addition to this documentation relevant to the family petition, you will be required to prove with evidence that you are a U.S. citizen. For this you may present your valid U.S. passport, your birth or naturalization certificate, your certificate of citizenship, among others. It is not necessary to present all of them, but we suggest that you have your documentation up to date and have at least two documents to present in the application.

What benefits do siblings of a U.S. citizen have?

Siblings of U.S. citizens who apply on the basis of a family petition will obtain the benefits of citizenship, in addition to being able to apply for permanent residency, as long as they meet the requirements for adjustment of status. This benefit may also be extended to other immediate family members by filing a family reunification petition.

Siblings of U.S. citizens who have a pending Form I-130 and are waiting to apply for a visa outside the U.S. will not be allowed to enter the country as they do not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa. However, the administration allows some exceptions for siblings of U.S. citizens to be able to wait for the petition on U.S. soil. Additional information and documentation will be required and will be reviewed by the USCIS offices where the application is made.

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