Bringing a brother or sister to the US
Many families are keen to enjoy being a part of each other’s lives and this can be difficult when relatives are spread across the world.
Anyone looking to bring their brother or sister to the US may be able to sponsor them to move to the country. There are a number of routes open to US citizens wanting to bring loved ones to the United States. A family-based visa may be the obvious choice but due to demand it could prove a lengthy wait.
However, there are other possible options available to siblings wanting to gain permanent residence in the long-term.
Visas suitable to bring a brother or sister to the US
If you are a U.S citizen it is possible to bring your siblings over to live in the country as lawful permanent residents. To do this you will need to sponsor your brother or sister for a F4 visa.
However, this family-based visa is subject to a yearly cap under the Citizenship and Immigration Services rules. As it is a fourth preference category of family-based visas it has a cap of 65,000. Therefore, the waiting lists can be very long and it could take years for your siblings to be granted a green card.
In many cases, there are other routes to allow your siblings to settle in the US as they may be eligible for a number of alternative visas that do not require a visa petition from a direct family member.
If your brother or sister are skilled workers they could potentially obtain permanent residence in the US via employment-based visas such as:
- H-1B Visa (Specialty Workers) for highly skilled foreign workers. This is a temporary work visa for skilled workers however once in the United States, visa holders can apply to be a lawful permanent resident
- O-1 Visa (Individuals with Extraordinary Ability) This is a dual intent permit, you may change your status from an O1 visa to a Green Card for permanent residence in the U.S.
- EB1 Visa (Extraordinary Ability Green Card)
- EB2 Visa (Second Preference Employment-based Visa)
- EB3 Visa (Worker’s Green Card for International skilled workers and professionals)
- EB-4 Visa (Special Immigrant Visa)
- EB5 Visa (Investor Green Card Program)
There is also the option of your siblings applying for the Green Card Lottery. They can online for the scheme that issues visas to overseas citizens that currently have a low rate of immigration to the US – the chance of becoming a Green Card holder does depend on where your siblings are based in the world.
How to apply for a F4 visa
To apply for a F4 visa, a U.S citizen will need to file a visa petition on behalf of their sibling. To be a sponsor, the petitioner must be:
- At least 21 years old
- Living in the US
- Be able to prove they are related to siblings living overseas – this requires evidence such as a birth certificate or adoption decree documents. If the sibling relationship is only through a joint father then a marriage certificate or divorce decree will need to be submitted.
If these are requirements are met then the USCIS will process the visa petition. If approved, the case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The NVC will then send an information pack to the foreign sibling abroad. This contains instructions and 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.
- 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)
- The visa applicant then undergoes a medical examination and receives the necessary vaccinations
- The applicant gathers the necessary documentation for their visa application such as birth certificate, marriage certificates etc.
- The applicant attends a visa interview at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country
- 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 US
The application process for a F4 visa can take a long term and anyone applying is advised to seek support from an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure they apply correctly and do not face additional delays to the application.
Siblings and Employment-based visas
When a sibling is a skilled professional or has experience in a specific field, they may want to consider applying for an employment-based immigrant visa as this may offer a faster route to gaining lawful permanent residence in the US.
There are many employment-based immigrant visas that enable the holder to gain permanent residence. An immigration attorney consultation may help to provide further information on which route is the best for gaining a green card.
It is important to note that the application process does vary depending on which employment-based immigrant visa is being sought. Some of the US work visas allow for self-petitioning, while others require a US-based employer to sponsor the potential visa holder.
Generally, the steps involved are:
- Gain a job that is in the US
- Either the visa applicant (if self-petitioning) or their employer (petitioning on their behalf) will file the necessary employment-based petition form with the Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Once the petition is accepted, the application then transfers over to the National Visa Center
- The visa applicant and their employer wait for a priority date to become current in the visa bulletin
- Once 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)
- The applicant then undergoes a medical examination and receives the necessary vaccinations
- The applicant gathers the necessary documentation for their visa application. This can include a range of supporting documents such birth certificates etc
- The applicant attends a visa interview at their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country to answer a range of questions about their identity, family, past immigration history and their future places.
- After the visa interview, the applicant will receive a decision on their application. If approved, they will be issued a visa and can then travel to the United States.
Cost of bringing a sibling to the US
The following are the standard current 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
There are other related costs that will need to be taken into to account when applying for a visa for the US. These additional fees can include medical examination costs, travelling to interviews and provided translations of documents.
All of our lawyers are fully accredited with the appropriate legal bodies and you may be confident that the information we provide is fully accurate.
No matter how complex your case is, we can provide a tailored plan to help you achieve your goals. We work tirelessly on your behalf, attempting all legal options to assist you in immigrating to the U.S. with your loved ones and do our best to ensure that your petition is approved.
We recognize that immigration and visa applications are major decisions in a person’s life and that they can impact many lives.
That is why we provide the highest care and attention to all of our clients and ensure that they are given all their legal options so that they may make an informed decision about their future and the future of their families.
Your dedicated immigration lawyer will work with you throughout the entire process, communicating with you regularly to answer your questions and advise on the next steps.
At the beginning of the process, you can expect us to give you clear and accurate information about how much the process will cost and an anticipated timeline.
If you have any questions at any stage, our friendly and professional client care teams can work directly with you so that you feel confident in the process.
Call us on +1 844 290 6312 for a confidential discussion about how we can assist you with your immigration case. We look forward to assisting you over the phone or by online call.
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