If you are a United States citizen, you can sponsor a green card for siblings. Sponsoring your brother or sister for a green card isn’t necessarily any more complex than sponsoring a fiancé(e), but there are some key differences to be aware of before you decide to bring your sibling to the US.
Am I Eligible to Sponsor My Sibling for a Green Card?
Every year, thousands of people obtain a green card through marriage — but people don’t always realize that you can help other family members obtain green cards as well.
However, there is a misconception that green card holders can sponsor their siblings or other family members for a green card.
To sponsor your sibling, you need to be a United States citizen, either by birth or through naturalization. You also need to be at least 21 years old.
How Do I Get a Green Card for My Sibling?
The first step is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The application may be filed and approved rather quickly, but that does not mean you can automatically move on to the next step of the process.
Parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply right away, but all other family members, including siblings, must wait to receive an immigrant visa number.
There are only 65,000 immigrant visas available each year for the brothers and sisters of US citizens. Due to this cap, the wait to get an immigrant visa is generally several years.
By filing the I-130, you secure your sibling’s place “in line” for his or her green card. Therefore, you should file as soon as possible.
Once your sibling reaches the front of the line and an immigrant visa number becomes available, the US Department of State will contact him or her. Your sibling can go to at the US Embassy or Consulate in his or her country to take the next steps to file for a green card. If your sibling is already in the US and entered legally, he or she can then file an I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust of Status.
What Documents & Translations Do I Need to Sponsor My Sibling?
Whether it’s for you, your sibling or anyone else, if you’re filing green card paperwork, you will need copies of personal documents — and in some cases, translations.
USCIS requires that all submitted documents be in English. However, many people have a birth certificate or passport from another country, and the language or languages on these documents may not include any English. If this is the case, USCIS will need a certified translation of your birth certificate, passport and/or other necessary documents.
Copies of the following documents (and translations, if applicable) will be necessary to sponsor your sibling for a green card:
Your sibling’s birth certificate
Proof of your US citizenship (either your naturalization certificate or, if you were born here, another government-issued ID)
Does Sponsoring a Sibling for a Green Card Mean I Have a Financial Obligation?
As part of the family green card application process, the sponsor must file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support.
By signing and agreeing to the affidavit of support, you are responsible for supporting your brother or sister if he or she does not have the income. Green card cases will be denied if an immigrant needs to rely on public benefits and is deemed a public charge.
Additionally, it’s important to know that if a person for whom you file an affidavit of support becomes a permanent resident and then becomes a public charge, the agency that gives out public benefits can require that you pay them for the public benefits.
Keep in mind this financial responsibility as well as the documents and translations you will need if you decide to sponsor your sibling for a green card. Also, there are other ways to obtain a green card.
Are you thinking about or currently sponsoring your sibling? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.