Citizens who are at least 21 can bring their siblings to this country, where a permanent resident card awaits them.
U.S. citizens can petition for their brothers or sisters to come to the United States with permanent residency.
The biggest downside to sibling visas is the extended waiting period, however. Since siblings are low-priority relatives under the current immigration law, some people must wait years before the government issues a visa. The good news is that, once the visa “priority date” arrives, the person may apply to enter the United States as a permanent resident.
U.S. law defines “siblings” as not only pure biological siblings but also adopted siblings, half-brothers/half-sisters, and stepsiblings.
What are the Annual Limits?
Overall, the Immigration and Nationality Act places a 226,000 cap on annual family-sponsored visas. That sounds like a huge number, but the INA also prescribes a per-country limit of 7%, or 15,820. That number is prioritized as follows:
- Unmarried children (F1 visas),
- Spouses (F2A and F2B),
- Married children (F3), and
- Siblings (F4).
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other more distant relatives are ineligible for F-class visas, even if the sponsoring individual is a native-born citizen and lifelong American resident. Other categories, such as a business or entrepreneurial visa, may be available. A visa may be available more quickly through permanent labor certification (PERM).
What are the Basic Qualifications for a Sibling Visa?
Citizens who are at least 21 can sponsor a foreign sibling. F4 visas allow immigrants to live and work in the United States as permanent residents. Furthermore, the sponsor’s household income must be at least 125% above the poverty level for that family size. In other words, the sponsor must have enough income to support the immigrant, at least temporarily. The immigrant may need a “joint sponsor” if the petitioner’s income is too low to ensure that the immigrant does not become a “public charge.”
Can I Appeal a Denial?
If USCIS denies your petition, the agency will inform you in writing and also give the reason for the denial. This additional information gives a Nashville immigration attorney a better chance to win an appeal. Many times, the applicant failed to include acceptable paperwork establishing the relationship. Foreign documents are notoriously difficult to interpret and can rather unreliable. Additional information or documentation may be available. Ozment Law, PLC, has filed appeals, motions for reconsideration, and motions to reopen based on new evidence for many immigrants in Tennessee.
What is the Procedure for a Sibling Visa?
Sponsors must file immigration petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS generally grants this petition if the sponsor meets the qualifications and the sponsor has a qualifying relationship with the immigrant.
But, after USCIS grants the petition, it does not issue a green card immediately. Instead, it issues a place in line, called a “priority date.” Then, the waiting begins. After a number comes up from the immigrant’s home country according to the priorities set out above, a visa may be issued. This process could take a few months, or it could take a few years.
Can I Apply for a Sibling Visa if the Immigrant is Already Here?
Yes. If the sibling is here under a nonimmigrant status, a Nashville immigration attorney can file an I-130 petition. The I-130 does not alter the brother or sister’s current status. That status must be maintained until the number comes up. If the sibling is still overseas, the visa interview will occur at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
Reach Out to an Experienced Immigration Attorney
Most married and unmarried siblings are eligible for green cards, but the process takes time. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Nashville immigration lawyer, contact Ozment Law. PLC.