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Green Card for Brothers & Sisters of U.S. Citizens (F4 Immigrant Visa)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018

If you are a U.S. citizen, who is at least 21 years of age, you may file a petition to sponsor your brothers and sisters for immigration to the United States.

Image of a young brother and sister, from the back, sitting by a lake

You can sponsor your biological siblings (brothers and sisters), half-siblings (common mother or common father), step-siblings, or adoptive siblings (if you or your siblings were adopted before your 16th birthdays). In addition, you can sponsor your siblings if you share a common, biological father who was never married to your mothers.

Permanent residents cannot petition for immigration of their brothers and sisters until they naturalize (become citizens).

There is a numerical limitation on immigrant visas for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. And, there is a delay of many years for obtaining immigrant visas as brothers and sisters of a citizen. The delay ranges from 13 years (for most people) to 23 years (for people from Philippines).  You may check the visa availability of a particular visa category for your country of origin. See Priority Date & Visa Availability

How can I file a petition to sponsor my brothers and sisters for immigration?

To apply for classification of your brothers and sisters, you must file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) together with the supporting evidence, which can be rather complicated, depending on the circumstances and how your relationship with your siblings was created. You must file a separate petition for each brother or sister.

To see the current USCIS fee for this petition, see USCIS Fee Schedule.

To see how long the USCIS would take to adjudicate your petition, see USCIS Processing Times.

What happens after the USCIS approves the classification petition for my brothers and sisters?

If your brothers and sisters are in the United States and qualify, they may apply for adjustment of status.

If they are outside of the United States, or do not qualify for adjustment of status here, they must go through consular processing, to actually receive immigrant visas.

Can my brothers and sisters stay here or come to the United States, while waiting for their green card?

No. Filing of a classification petition does not provide a basis for the beneficiary to either stay here or come to the United States, while waiting for the approval of the classification petition.

Availability of immigrant visas for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens will take several years.  During this period, your brothers and sisters may be able to obtain nonimmigrant visas to come here for a visit. If your brothers and sisters wish to come to the United States for a visit after you have filed an immigrant classification petition for them, they should consult an attorney, to prepare for the concerns that may be raised during their nonimmigrant visa interview, before making a nonimmigrant visa application.

Related Topics:

Traveling Outside of the United States during the Immigration Application Process

Working in the United States during the Immigration Application Process

Applying for Citizenship


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