There are many people in California who have family members living in other parts of the world. A person who has U.S. citizenship through birth or naturalization may petition for their non-citizen siblings to live permanently in the United States. To petition for a sibling, the petitioner must be at least 21 years old and be able to show proof of U.S. citizenship.
A U.S. citizen’s sibling can qualify for permanent residency if they have one or two parents in common or are related through adoption or stepparents. Siblings that are related to the U.S. citizen through adoption must have been adopted before they turned 16 and before the U.S. citizen turned 16. Depending on the circumstances, immigration petitions for siblings may require proof of name changes and marital status of parents.
To petition for permanent residency for a sibling, the U.S. citizen must complete Form I-130. The sibling’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are automatically included in the petition without the need for separate forms. There is usually no way for a sibling to enter the United States while a petition for permanent residency is pending. If a petition is denied, it can be appealed through the Board of Immigration Appeals.
The process of petitioning for a relative to enter the United States can sometimes be confusing for families. An attorney may be able help a family to prepare all of the required documents for family-based immigration petitions and appeal any denials. If a relative needs to enter the U.S. while a petition is pending, an attorney may be able to help them to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.