U.S. citizens, including legal immigrants who have gained citizenship through naturalization, may bring relatives to the United States through family-based immigration. To sponsor a brother for legal permanent residence, a petitioner must file U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-130, "Petition for Alien Relative." The petitioner must file the I-130 form according to USCIS instructions and meet requirements to document the sibling relationship.
Eligibility to file a family-based immigration petition depends on the family relationship between the petitioner and the person who would like to immigrate to the United States, who is also known as the beneficiary. Only a U.S. citizen at least 21 years of age may sponsor a sibling for legal permanent residence in the United States. An immigrant who has a green card but who has not yet been naturalized as a U.S. citizen does not qualify to file the I-130 petition on a brother's behalf, even though a green-card holder does qualify to petition for a spouse or unmarried child.
A petitioner who would like to sponsor a brother for immigration to the United States must file USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The I-130 form includes questions regarding the petitioner's eligibility to file the form. The I-130 form also requires an explanation of the sibling relationship between the petitioner and his brother. In addition to the I-130 form, the petitioner must submit USCIS Form I-864, "Affidavit of Support," to take financial responsibility if his brother becomes a U.S. immigrant. The petitioner must also complete and file USCIS Form I-485, "Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status," but can choose whether to file the form at the same time as the I-130 petition.
According to the USCIS instructions for Form I-130, the petition must include supporting documentation. The petitioner must attach a copy of a document to prove U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, passport or naturalization certificate. The I-130 form also requires evidence of the family relationship between the petitioner and her brother; the required documents depend on the type of sibling relationship between the two individuals.
In general, the petitioner must include copies of both individuals' birth certificates to show at least one parent in common. For siblings with only a common father, the petitioner must also attach the marriage certificates, if any, of the father and each sibling's mother, as well as any legal documents to show the end of those marriages. For adopted siblings, the petitioner must include an adoption decree showing that the family relationship formed before the adoptive child reached the age of 16.
I-130 Filing Requirements
The petitioner should follow USCIS instructions for preparation and filing of the I-130 form. The USCIS requires a separate I-130 form and set of supporting documents on behalf of each sibling. Each I-130 form includes a required filing fee of $420 as of May 2011, plus additional fees for other forms such as the I-485, if filing concurrently. The proper mailing address for the petition depends on the type of mail service and on whether the petitioner plans to file any other forms concurrently with the I-130 form.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Family of U.S. Citizens
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Bringing Siblings to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Family of Green Card Holders (Permanent Residents)
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Instructions for I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
Cindy Chung is a California-based professional writer. She writes for various websites on legal topics and other areas of interest. She holds a B.A. in education and a Juris Doctor.