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brother, sisterI am writing the second of a multi-part series of posts on how to bring family relatives to the United States permanently. The first post I wrote provided general information on bringing family relatives to the United States. (See my post, “Can I petition for my relative to immigrate to the United States?“) This post will focus on how to petition for your brother or sister to come to the United States permanently.

In order to petition for your brother or sister you must file form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with United States and Citizenship Services (“USCIS”) along with proof that you are a United States Citizen and that you are related to your brother or sister. I will discuss the steps you must take in more detail below.

Obtain Form I-130

Download I-130.   At the same time that you obtain the form, you should go to the USCIS website and print out the instructions to the form. They are more detailed than the instructions I will provide in this post and provide the mailing address to where you will need to send the form.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship

You may prove that you are a U.S. citizen by sending one of the following documents to USCIS with your petition:

  • A copy of your birth certificate (if you were born in the United States) issued by a civil registrar, vital statistics office, or other civil authority.
  • A copy of your naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS or the former INS.
  • A copy of your Form FS-240, Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States, issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport. OR
  • An original letter from a U.S. consular officer verifying that you are a U.S. citizen with a valid passport.

Proof of your relationship to your brother or sister

In order to prove that you and your brother or sister is related, you must submit a copy of your birth certificate and a copy of your sibling’s birth certificate showing that you have at least one common parent.

If you and your sibling share the same father but different mothers, you also need to submit the marriage certificates of your father to each mother as well as proof of termination of prior marriages of either your father or each mother.

If you or your sibling was adopted, you must submit the adoption decree showing that the adoption took place before the child turned 16.

Finally, if you or your sibling is related through a step-parent relationship, you must submit your parents’ marriage certificate showing that the marriage by which you claim your relationship to your sibling took place before the child turned 18. Also you need to submit documentation proving that your parents’ prior marriages were terminated and you also need to submit the step-child’s birth certificate.

As a general rule, do not submit any original document to USCIS. Submit only copies. Any document not in English must be translated into English. The document need not be notarized but does need to be certified by a translator indicating that the translation is true and correct.

The filing fee for the petition is currently $420.00. As the fees do change, you should check the USCIS website and verity that the fee is correct.

You must mail the complete packet to one of the addresses listed in the instructions to the form. The location to where you send it depends upon where you live.

I recommend that you make a copy of your entire packet and send the packet certified mail, return receipt requested. By sending it this way, you will have verification that it has been received.

You should be aware that there is a very long wait to bring a brother or sister to the United States. The long wait is due to our quota system for immigration. Because of the number of visas allotted for brothers or sisters is so low, it currently takes a minimum of eleven years before your brother or sister will be able to come to the United States. It is even worse if your sibling is from Mexico or the Philippines.  It is worth filing the petition because you want to reserve your spot in line but if your sibling has another way of immigrating, you may wish to pursue that method while you waiting in line for this visa petition to become current.