To petition for a sibling, a U.S Citizen has to start by filing a form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of filing the Form I-130 is to establish the existence of a relationship between a citizen or lawful permanent resident, and a certain alien relative who wish to immigrate to the United States. If the desire is to reunite specifically with a brother or sister, the petitioner must be 21 or older and a United States Citizen. During recent immigration reform debates, congress contemplated eliminating the sibling petition category. If you are thinking about filing a petition on behalf of a sibling living abroad, now is the time to file your petition.
The first step is to demonstrate that the petitioner is a current U.S Citizen. Some of the documents that can be provided by the petitioner are either a copy of a U.S birth certificate, a naturalization certificate, or an unexpired U.S. passport. If any of these documents are not available the petitioner may contact an attorney to seek detailed information about the process in that case.
Once the petitioner’s status is established, the petitioner must prove the family relationship with the beneficiary. Providing the petitioner’s and the beneficiary’s birth certificates will demonstrate that they have at least one common parent. Where they both have a common father but not a common mother, marriage certificate for the father to each mother and documents showing that prior marriage was legally terminated is required. Separate petitions are not required for beneficiary’s spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old.
The filing fee for the Form I-130 is $420. The check must be attached to all the documents required above and payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”, not “USDHS” or “DHS”. Because USCIS fees change periodically the petitioner can verify the correct fee for the specific form on www.uscis.gov or call to USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
If the relationship between the beneficiary and the petitioner is trough adoption or through a stepparent relationship some more required documentation must be filed in order to proceed with the process. Filing immigration documents can be tricking and confusing. It is important to seek help from an immigration attorney.