Friday, January 14, 2011
Many of us wish to bring our siblings to the United States and are faced with the impending question "What is the green card sister application, and how do I go about it?" Let us now try to understand the process a bit more.
American citizens who are desirous of bringing their sisters to the US are allowed to file a green card sister application to petition their sisters. Per law, brothers and sisters are brought under the "preference category" and are not considered immediate relatives of the US citizen. The wait period is generally longer when compared to petitioning an immediate relative.
To be eligible to petition for the green card sister application you must be:
a. US Citizen and
b. at least 21 years of age.
It is not mandatory that you must be a natural born American. Your citizenship could have been acquired through naturalization or in any other way. However, as the petitioner you should be 21 years of age at the time of filing the petition.
Filing the Green Card Sister Application using Form I-130.
Before you file Form I 130 ensure that you have all the legal documents to establish your relationship with your sister. For the different types of relationships that are recognized by law you will require:
a) For legitimate sisters: A birth certificate for both you and your sister to show that you share at least one parent.
b) For half-sisters: A birth certificate for both you and your sister. This is to show that you share the same father. In such cases the marriage certificates of the father to each of the mothers and proof of termination of both parents' earlier marriages should be available.
c) For stepsisters: A birth certificate for both you and your beneficiary. In additon to this the marriage certificate of your parent and stepparent occuring prior to your 18th birthday would be needed.
d) For adopted sisters: The adoption decree occuring before the adopted child turned 16 years old, and your birth certificates.
Once you have all these documents ready you are ready to file the green card sister application (Form I 130 -Petition for an Alien Relative).
Gather and put all the required documents for your petition in a packet. These would include:
1) I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.
2) Proof of your citizenship.
3) Your (petitioner's) birth certificate.
4) The beneficiary's birth certificate.
5) Evidence of relationship.
6) If there is name change of the petitioner or the beneficiary (legally) proof of the name change.
7) The relevant fee applicable to the form I 130.
Prepare two copies of the visa petition. Mail one package to the USCIS, Chicago Lockbox and wait till a visa number is made available.
The US government limits the number of approved immigrants each year and as such you will be required to wait for a long time (close to about 10 years) as brothers and sisters fall into the fourth preference category. You need to wait till the USCIS approves your petition and also have a watch on the visa bulletin to find out when your petition date becomes current.
If your petition is approved and you are given a family visas number your sister can complete the green card sister process. She must then submit an immigrant visa application to the NVC. She will be scheduled for an interview at the local US consulate. If she passes the interview she will be given a visa and will be allowed to join you in the US.
In case your sister is in the US legally, she need not file an immigrant visa but she can file for an adjustment of status using Form I 485.