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Green Card for Siblings : Process Breakdown, Cost, & Timeline

Navigating the complex process of obtaining a Green Card for siblings involves understanding eligibility, managing costs, and anticipating the timeline. This article breaks down the essential steps of the application process, provides a clear picture of the associated expenses, and sets realistic expectations for the duration from petition to permanent residency.

Key Takeaways

  • To sponsor a sibling for a Green Card, the sponsor must be a US citizen and the process falls under the Fourth Preference (F4) category, known for long waiting times.
  • The total cost of a Green Card application includes filing fees, such as $625 for Form I-130 if filed online or $675 if it is filed on paper through regular mail, plus adjustment of status form fees or consular processing form fees depending on which option your sibling is choosing, alongside mandatory costs like the biometrics fee and medical examination, with potential additional expenses for document translation and attorney fees.
  • The timeline for a sibling Green Card application can range from several months to many years, influenced by factors such as whether you are doing an adjustment of status or consular processing, visa availability, country of origin, and current backlogs, with the entire process potentially extending over one to three years or more.

Understanding the Green Card Application Process for Siblings

Eligibility and Sponsorship Requirements

To embark on the journey of sponsoring your sibling for a Green Card, you must first ensure you meet the necessary eligibility criteria. As a sponsor, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Your residency status in the U.S. is crucial, as you need to be living in the country to initiate the process or have plans to return to live in the United States at the same time that your sibling will be immigrating.. 

It’s important to understand the preference categories and potential grounds for inadmissibility, as these factors also play a significant role in the application outcome.

Here are the key steps to determine if you and your sibling qualify:

  1. Confirm your U.S. citizenship and age.
  2. Verify your residency (or planned residency) in the United States.
  3. Review any potential grounds for inadmissibility that may apply to your sibling.

Immediate family members (spouses, parents and unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens) typically experience shorter wait times, but as a sibling, your brother or sister may face a longer processing period. Being well-informed and prepared can help you to navigate this complex process more smoothly.

Gathering Necessary Documentation

As you embark on the journey to secure a Green Card for your sibling, it’s crucial to meticulously gather all the necessary documentation. This step is foundational to the success of your application. Start by collecting personal identification documents such as your U.S. birth certificate or naturalization certificate, social security number, and passport. Your sibling will also need to prove their sibling relationship to you, which requires a copy of their birth certificate showing the same parent(s) as shown on your birth certificate. 

The list of required documents typically includes:

  • Birth Certificate for you and your sibling: To confirm the applicant’s nationality and sibling relationship to you.
  • Your U.S. naturalization certificate if you were born abroad

If any document originates from a foreign entity, it must be legalized, for instance, with an apostille if applicable. Additionally, any document not in English requires certified translation. Your attorney can assist with obtaining and preparing the necessary documentation, ensuring everything is in order for your sibling’s Green Card application.

Filing the Petition and Supporting Forms

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documentation, your next step is to file the petition for your sibling’s green card. You must submit a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Remember, each sibling you sponsor will require a separate Form I-130.

After submitting the Form I-130, you’ll need to patiently wait for the priority date to become current. This date is crucial as it determines when your sibling can move forward with the application process for their immigrant visa (lawful permanent residency). Keep an eye on the latest visa bulletin to track the progress of visa availability in the F4 category, which is the category for siblings of U.S. citizens.

When the priority date is current, your sibling can then file Form I-485 for an adjustment of status if they are already in the United States and if they meet the other special requirements for adjustment of status. If they are abroad, they will go through consular processing. Either way, it’s essential to ensure that all forms are filled out accurately to avoid delays or denials. While you can handle the application yourself, many choose to work with an attorney to navigate the complexities of immigration law.

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Visa Availability and Processing Times

Once you’ve filed the petition for your sibling’s green card, the waiting game begins. Visa availability is a crucial factor that can significantly affect the timeline of the application process. For siblings of U.S. citizens, the relevant category is the Fourth Preference (F4), which is known for its long processing times due to high demand.

It’s important to stay informed about the current processing times, which can vary based on the service center where your I-130 petition was submitted. As per VisaNation, the I-130 can take anywhere from 6 months to several years to process. Additionally, attending your biometrics appointment is mandatory; missing it can result in significant delays or a denial, potentially adding years to your wait.

To get a better sense of the current landscape, consider checking out resources like the crowdsourced Golden Visa timeline database, which provides up-to-date information on processing times. Remember, these timelines can fluctuate, so it’s essential to keep an eye on any changes that may occur.

Estimating the Costs and Timeline for Sibling Green Card Applications

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Breakdown of Filing Fees and Mandatory Costs

When you’re ready to embark on the journey of obtaining a green card for your sibling, understanding the financial commitment is crucial. The primary expense is the filing fee, which as of April 1, has increased for many immigration applications. 

Fees vary depending on the specific form and requirements.

In addition to the standard fees, you should also budget for:

  • Application photos, which must meet specific requirements
  • Mailing fees for sending documents

Additional Expenses to Consider

Beyond the standard filing fees, there are several additional expenses you should be prepared for when applying for a green card for your sibling. Professional legal assistance can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of immigration law. While not mandatory, hiring an immigration attorney can help ensure that your application is complete and free of errors, potentially saving you time and money in the long run.

Other costs that are often overlooked include:

  • Application photos: Ensure you meet the specific photo requirements, which may necessitate professional services.
  • Mailing fees: Sending documents securely can add up, so include these in your budget.
  • Cost of the required medical exam. 

Remember, the total cost of obtaining a green card can vary significantly based on individual circumstances. It’s important to account for these additional expenses early to avoid any surprises during the application process.

Understanding the Total Timeline from Petition to Permanent Residency

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Grasping the total timeline for your sibling’s Green Card application is crucial to set realistic expectations. The process can easily span one to three years or longer, depending on various factors such as visa availability, your country of origin, the current backlog at USCIS and waiting times at the National Visa Center and at the consulate or embassy where your sibling will have their immigrant visa interview if they are doing consular processing. It’s important to note that this timeline begins with the initial petition filing with USCIS and extends through processing, interviews, and any potential appeals.

  • File Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Await Form I-130 approval
  • Monitor visa availability
  • File adjustment of status paperwork if applicable OR
  • File immigrant visa paperwork if doing consular processing;
  • Prepare for the interview and potential appeals.

Remember, patience is key throughout this journey. While you might come across claims promising the fastest way to bring siblings to the U.S., it’s essential to understand that each case is unique and subject to the legal and administrative processes in place. Stay informed and consider seeking professional advice to navigate this complex process effectively.

Navigating the complexities of sibling green card applications can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Abogada Ashley Immigration, Inc., we specialize in family-based immigration and understand the importance of keeping your loved ones close. Our dedicated team is ready to guide you through every step, ensuring a smooth and successful process.

Pathway to Family Reunion: Navigating the Green Card Journey for Siblings

Securing a Green Card for siblings under the Fourth Preference (F4) category is a complex and lengthy process that requires patience and a thorough understanding of the immigration system. The cost, which includes various filing fees, biometrics, medical examinations, and potential attorney fees, can be substantial. The timeline can extend over several years, especially due to visa backlogs.. It’s crucial for applicants to stay informed about the latest USCIS processing times and to prepare all necessary documentation meticulously to avoid unnecessary delays in an already lengthy process. Although the journey to bring siblings to the United States as permanent residents is challenging, it is a path many choose to undertake to reunite their families.

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