Bringing Siblings to Live in the United States as Permanent
Question: How Do I Bring a Sibling to Live in the United States?
Answer: This information is for U.S. citizens who wish to bring a sibling to live permanently in the United States. Only U.S. citizens can bring their siblings to live permanently in the U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents can not.
First, you must know exact how the USCIS defines a sibling. A sibling is a brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or adopted brother or sister. For the necessary sibling relationship to exist, each person must have been a child of at least one of the same parents. The siblings need not share the same biological parents as long as both became “children” at the appropriate time (before the age of 16 in cases of adoption, and before the age of 18 for stepchildren).
Question: What must I do since I am eligible to petition my sister?
Answer: A legal immigrant (or “lawful permanent resident”) is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. There is a three-step process for your brother or sister to become a legal immigrant: 1. The USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition that you file for your brother or sister. Keep in mind that the USCIS is not actually ruling on these petitions until a visa number becomes available. 2. The State Department visa bulletin must show that a sibling immigrant visa is available to your sibling, based on the date that you filed the immigrant visa application. 3. If your brother or sister is outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available, your brother or sister will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. If your sibling is legally inside the U.S. when an immigrant visa number becomes available, he or she may apply to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident using the Form I-485.
Question: How long must I wait for the visa number to become current?
Answer: Depending on the relationship and the country involved, the wait for an available sibling visa number may be several years. Unfortunately, for people from Mexico and the Philippines, the wait can be as long as 20 years.
Thus, keep in mind that many people such as your sibling sister may be able to come to the United States with an employment based visa much faster. If she has a college degree, she may be able to get an H-1B. She could also get an employer to sponsor her for a Labor Certification which would not take nearly as long.