All You Need to Know About Green Card for Siblings

Updated on 11/05/2023

Sibling love is special because you have so many memories in common. Understandably, when you become naturalized in the United States and therefore have become a U.S. citizen, you want your brothers and sisters to gain the same rights and privileges that you enjoy. When you are applying for a green card for your sibling, you will want to make sure that the application package you compile is correct and complete. By learning as much as possible about green cards for siblings ahead of time, you may be able to shorten the preparation time of the petition to get lawful permanent residency for your brother or sister.

Green Card for Sibling

1. Family-Based Green Card

A green card for a sibling falls under the category of family-based immigrant visas. Generally, family-based green cards are available to eligible relatives of those with lawful permanent resident (LPR, green card holder) status or U.S. citizenship (USC). Some family-based immigrant visas require the petitioner to be a USC. Others allow an LPR to apply for a green card for their relative.

A green card holder or USC can petition for their spouse, parent, child, or sibling, whether the family member is within the United States or is living and working abroad. The evidence that will need to be provided for a family-based green card application will depend on the type of relationship the foreign national has with the petitioner.

Generally, the correct form to apply for a green card for a family member is the I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. When it comes to green cards for siblings, a petitioner with United States citizenship would complete the I-130 form and submit evidence of the relationship to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

2. Who Qualifies as A Sibling in a USCIS Application?

There are many and varied types of families in this modern world, but someone who is “like a brother” or who is “the same as a sister” will not suffice to get a green card for a sibling. However, the following persons may be eligible for a green card.

  • Brother or sister with same birth parents
  • Half sibling
  • Stepbrother or stepsister
  • Adopted sibling

In some sibling green card applications, marriage or divorce certificate of their parents or adoption certificates may be necessary to further establish the family relationship between the U.S. citizen and the green card applicant.

Not sure if you are eligible to apply for green card for your sister or brother? You can free check eligibility through without giving any private information. 

3. Green Card for Siblings

Most United States citizens, whether native-born or naturalized, can apply for a green card for their sibling. However, the petitioning brother or sister needs to be at least 21 years old.

Eligibility of the U.S. Citizen Petitioner

As with most green card applications for family members, a USC, aged 21 or older, would need to complete a Form I-130 to begin the process of asking the USCIS to grant a green card to their brother or sister.

Green Card Category

Green cards for sibling fall under the category of F4, or fourth preference, of the family-based immigrant category. This is different from the immediate relative path to a green card, which may be available to a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under 21 years of age. 

Each preference category has a different timeline for when a green card (immigrant visa number) may be available. As a green card for a sibling is the fourth preference, rather than the first, the processing time to gain lawful permanent residency in the United States tends to take a lot longer. Actually, it will take 10-15 years on average to waiting for the immigrant visa number to be available for F4 catetory.

Necessary Evidence

In addition to filling out the Form I-130, and sending it the USCIS with a $535 filing fee, a U.S. citizen will need to supply evidence that will convince the immigration adjudicators that their I-130 petition should be approved.

Such evidence should include evidence of U.S. citizenship, such as a U.S. state birth or naturalization certificate or valid U.S. passport, and proof of a sibling relationship, such as two birth certificates showing a common parent. If their common parent is the father, a marriage or divorce certificate of their birth parents is mandatory to prove that they are legitimated children.

Not sure if you are eligible to apply for green card for your full sibling, half sibling or step-sibling? You can free check eligibility through without giving any personal information.

4. Green Card for Siblings Processing Time

The answer to your question, “How long is the green card for siblings processing time?” is, “It depends.” There are a variety of factors that affect your processing time for a green card for a brother or sister.

Processing Time for the Form I-130

The processing time for the Form I-130 can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Then, assuming that there is no Request for Evidence (RFE) letter sent by the USCIS to ask for more documents, an approved I-130 petition just brings the green card applicant to the next stage of the waiting game for the immigrant visa number.

Sibling Green Card Visa Numbers

Even with an approved I-130 petition, a sibling cannot apply for a green card until there is a visa number available, and this may take a while. Because a green card for sibling in the fourth preference of the family-based immigrant visas, it is given the lowest priority.

There are slightly more than 65,000 sibling visa numbers available each year. For many countries, there is a 14-year wait for a sibling green card, but in others there is a processing time of more than 20 years. So the sooner you file a petition for the sibling green card, the quicker they might get a visa number.

Visa Number Available, What’s Next?

Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are living in the United States can file a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status or Register Permanent Residence, when an immigrant visa number is available. There are other prerequisites to be eligible for filing an I-485 application, such as legal entry and keeping legal status until the date of filing of I-485. You may free check eligibility through without providing any private information.

For green card for siblings who are living outside the United States, the National Visa Center (NVC) will notify them to apply for an immigrant visa when an immigrant visa number is available or close to be available. Such process is known as consular processing. You can check our article Apply for Green Card through Consular Processing to have an idea about the consular processing.

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