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How you can bring your sibling to the United States

Find out more about the many ways that U.S. Citizens can help bring their foreign-born siblings to the United States to settle as lawful permanent residents either through a family-based green card or an employment-based visa.

Call us on +1 844 290 6312 for immediate help & assistance with U.S. visa application. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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    What visas are available to siblings of U.S. Citizens?

    If you are a citizen of the United States who would like to bring over your brother or sister to settle in the country as lawful permanent residents, you can sponsor your sibling for an F4 Visa. This family-based visa allows U.S. citizens to sponsor their brother or sister for an immigrant visa. However, this sibling green card is in the fourth preference category of family-based visas and is therefore subject to a yearly cap of 65,000. As a result, the waiting lists can be long and it can take years for a priority date to become current at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    However, if your sibling is a skilled and educated adult, they may be eligible for other visas that do not need a visa petition from a family member. Depending on the circumstances, brother or sister could be eligible for the following employment-based visas:

    In addition, if your sibling is abroad, they could apply online for the Green card lottery (Diversity Visa Program) which grants immigrant visas to the foreign citizens of countries with a low rate of immigration to the United States.

    family on a walk
    brothers on stairs

    What is the application process for an F4 visa?

    The first step in applying for an F4 Sibling visa is the U.S. citizen filing a visa petition for their brother or sister. In order to be a sponsor, the U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years old, living in the United States under a valid address, and be able to prove that they have foreign national siblings living abroad. This can be done by providing evidence such as a birth certificate or adoption decree documents. If you are related to your sibling only through your father, then you will need to provide copies of the marriage certificates of your father to each different mother as well as documents proving that any prior marriage of either your father or the siblings’ mothers were legally terminated (divorce decree, death certificate, etc)

    If the U.S. citizen petitioner can meet these requirements, they can then process by submitting a petition for an immigrant visa to USCIS. The steps for an F4 visa application are as follows:

    1. The U.S. citizen sibling files a petition for their sibling
    2. The USCIS processes the visa petition. If approved, the case will then be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC)
    3. The National Visa Center will then send an informational packet to the foreign sibling abroad. Inside this packet are instructions and informational documents about the next steps in the application process. The applicant will need to wait for his or her priority date to become current in the visa bulletin before it is processed. Depending on the country, the waiting time could be years.
    4. Once a spot opens up and the priority date becomes current, the applicant can then begin the F4 application by completing Form DS-260 (Online Application for an Immigrant Visa)
    5. The visa applicant then undergoes a medical examination and receives the necessary vaccinations
    6. The applicant gathers the necessary documentation for their visa application
    7. The applicant attends a visa interview at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country
    8. After the visa interview, the applicant will receive a decision on their application for permanent residence. If approved, they will be granted an F4 visa and can then travel to the United States.

    As many applicants can wait years in waiting for their priority date to become current, it is very important that the application and supporting documents are adequate and free from mistakes to avoid further delays in receiving an F4 visa. Therefore, it is recommended that you seek counsel and legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer who can make sure that your visa application is thoroughly prepared.

    Do you need help applying for Green Card? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      What is the application process for an Employment-based immigrant visa?

      If you have a foreign brother or sister who is a skilled professional, exceptionally talented in their field, or possesses the necessary academic qualifications, then he or she may be eligible to apply for an employment-based immigrant visa. There are a number of employment-based immigrant visas that grant the recipient permanent residence. To determine what U.S. work visas your sibling is eligible for, consult with an immigration attorney who can help your brother or sister find the right work visa for him or her.

      The application process will be different with every employment-based immigrant visa. Some will be eligible for self-petitioning and others will require the sponsorship of a U.S. employer. Overall, the application will be as follows:

      1. The applicant has been accepted for a job in the United States.
      2. Either the visa applicant (if self-petitioning) or their employer (petitioning on their behalf) will file the necessary Employment-based petition form to the USCIS
      3. If the petition is accepted, the application then transfers over to the National Visa Center
      4. The visa applicant and their employer wait for a priority date to become current in the visa bulletin
      5. Once a spot opens up and the priority date becomes current, the applicant can then begin the immigrant visa application by completing Form DS-260 (Online Application for an Immigrant Visa)
      6. The applicant then undergoes a medical examination and receives the necessary vaccinations
      7. The applicant gathers the necessary documentation for their visa application
      8. The applicant attends a visa interview at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country
      9. After the visa interview, the applicant will receive a decision on their application for permanent residence. If approved, they will be granted a visa and can then travel to the United States.

      Why does it take so long for a priority date to become current?

      Fourth-preference category family-based visas are subject to a yearly cap of 65,000 visas issued each year. Immigration law states that of these 65,000 visas, that no more than 7% of total visas can be issued from one country. For high population countries where U.S. immigration demand is high and availability is low, this means longer waiting lines and bigger backlogs for the USCIS. A person seeking immigration to the United States from countries where the demand is high such as China, India, Mexico, and the Phillippines often wait years for their permanent residency priority date to become current.

      Furthermore, applicants who are applying for employment-based visas face similar long waiting times in addition to having to wait for PERM Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, if applicable to the job that they are applying for.

      Depending on the type of visa you are applying for along with the availability and demand for that visa, you and your sibling may be waiting years for a priority date to become current. If the visa is processed and approved, you will also have to wait an additional amount of time for the actual immigrant visa to arrive to the green cardholder.

      brothers sitting outside

      How much does it cost to bring a sibling to the US?

      The following are the estimated fees for each immigrant visa:

      • F4 Sibling Visa: $1,200
      • H-1B Visa (Specialty Workers): $190 (employee paid), $5,720-$6,470 (Employer paid)
      • O-1 Visa (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability): $460
      • EB1 Visa (Extraordinary Ability Green Card): $1,145
      • EB2 Visa (Second Preference Employment-based Visa): $665-$1,365 (if self-petitioning)
      • EB3 Visa (Worker’s Green Card for International skilled workers and professionals): $1,130
      • EB-4 Visa (Special Immigrant Visa): $740
      • EB5 Visa (Investor Green Card Program): $8,975
      • Diversity Visa: $330

      The visa costs do not include miscellaneous costs such as medical examination and vaccination fees, certified translations, travel, and fees involved with the acquisition of necessary documents.

      Can my sibling bring their family members with them?

      Your sibling may be able to bring over family members with them depending on the type of immigrant visa that they are applying for. Most immigrant visas allow dependents such as spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to immigrate to the United States with the principal visa holder.

      In order to petition for your dependent family members to join you in the United States, you must submit evidence that proves a family relationship such as a marriage certificate (for your spouse) and birth certificates (for dependent children under 21 years old).

      For more information regarding the application process, documents needed, and whether or not you are eligible to bring dependents with you to the United States, seek legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney.

      family reunion

      What can IAS do for me?

      The immigration process of applying for a U.S. immigrant visa can be complicated and lengthy. If you have siblings abroad in a foreign country who are interested in obtaining permanent residence status in the United States, our expert team of immigration attorneys is here to help. We are happy to assess your eligibility for a green card and help you find the quickest and best way for your sibling to join you in the United States. Whether it be family-based green cards or employment-based visas, our lawyers are highly trained in all areas of U.S. immigration law and can provide you with an attorney-client relationship you can trust.

      Our services are tailored to your individual immigration needs, ensuring that you receive the highest standard of assistance for your issue. The services we offer include:

      • Advice sessions
      • Application assistance
      • Document and application checks
      • Fast-track application services
      • Appeal assistance

      Get in touch with us today at +1 844 290 6312 to find out how you can be reunited with your family members together in the United States. We are here to help you online, over the phone, or in person.

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