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How to Petition a Brother or Sister

Only a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years of age is eligible to petition for his or her brother or sister to become a lawful permanent resident. Lawful permanent residents are not eligible to petition for a brother or sister. Separate visa petitions are not required for a brother’s or sister’s spouse or his/her unmarried children under 21 years of age. They may accompany or follow to join the beneficiary. This includes adopted children.

There are several different way siblings may be related (i.e., with the same mother, with the same father and different mothers, where one is out of wedlock, stepsibling, etc.). Each requires different supporting documentation and each are discussed below.

When a U.S. Citizen petitions for a brother or sister where both have the same mother only evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitted along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate showing his/her name and father’s name
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate showing his/her name and father’s name
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)

A U.S. Citizen petitioning for a brother or sister where both have the same father but different mothers, evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitting along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate showing his/her name and father’s name
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate showing his/her name and father’s name
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)
  • Father’s marriage certificate to each mother
  • Divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees showing previous marriages entered into by parents or sibling’s parents ended legally

A U.S. Citizen petitioning for a brother or sister where Petitioner and/or brother or sister were born out of wedlock, and are related through the father and were legitimated, evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitting along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)
  • Evidence that the person who was born out of wedlock was legitimated before reaching the age of 18 and while unmarried through
    • the marriage of that person’s natural parents
    • the legitimation laws of that person’s country of residence or domicile, or
    • the legitimation laws of the father’s country of residence or domicile

If you are a U.S. citizen seeking permanent resident status for your brother or sister, and you were and/or your brother or sister was born out of wedlock and not legitimated, and you are related through your father, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

A U.S. Citizen petitioning for a brother or sister where Petitioner and/or brother or sister were born out of wedlock and not legitimated, evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitting along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)
  • Evidence that an emotional or financial bond existed between the father and the child who was born out of wedlock (either Petitioner or the brother or sister or both) before that child was married or reached the age of 21

A U.S. Citizen petitioning for a stepbrother or stepsister, evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitting along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate showing common parent’s name (if the father married the stepsibling’s mother, the father’s name must be visible on the birth certificate; OR, if the mother married the stepsibling’s father, the mother’s name must be visible on the birth certificate)
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate showing common parent’s name (see above)
  • If the stepsibling is or has been married, evidence of the marriage(s) in order to prove that the stepsibling was once a “child” of the stepparent
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)
  • Civil marriage certificate of Petitioner’s natural mother to Petitioner’s natural father and stepsibling’s natural mother to his or her natural father
  • Proof that any previous marriages entered into by Petitioner’s and stepsibling’s father and mother ended legally (this could include copies of divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees)
  • Civil marriage certificate between a) Petitioner’s father and Petitioner’s stepmother or, b) Petitioner’s mother and Petitioner’s stepfather

A U.S. Citizen petitioning for a stepbrother or stepsister, where Petitioner and/or stepsibling were born out of wedlock, and are related through the father, and the child born out of wedlock was legitimated, evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitting along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate showing father’s name
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate showing father’s name
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)
  • Evidence that the person who was born out of wedlock was legitimated before reaching the age of 18 and while unmarried through
    • the marriage of that person’s natural parents
    • the laws of the brother’s or sister’s country of residence or domicile, or
    • the laws of the father’s country of residence or domicile

A U.S. Citizen petitioning for a stepbrother or stepsister where Petitioner and/or stepsibling was born out of wedlock and not legitimated, evidence of the Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship must be submitting along with the following:

  • Petitioner’s birth certificate showing common parent’s name (if father married stepsibling’s mother, father’s name must be visible on the birth certificate; if mother married stepsibling’s father, mother’s name must be visible on the birth certificate)
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate showing common parent’s name (see above)
  • If anyone’s name has been legally changed evidence of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, name change decree, etc.)
  • Marriage certificate between a) Petitioner’s father and stepmother, or b) Petitioner’s mother and stepfather, whichever is applicable (the date of the marriage must be prior to the date on which the child who was born out of wedlock reached the age of 18 or was married)
  • Proof that any previous marriages entered into by Petitioner or stepsibling’s father or mother ended legally (this could include copies of divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees)
  • Proof that a bona fide parent-child relationship existed between common parent and the child who was born out of wedlock before that child reached the age of 21 or was married

If the brother or sister is outside the U.S. when the visa petition is approved and when an immigrant visa number becomes available, the brother/sister will be notified by the Department of State’s National Visa Center to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. If the brother or sister is legally inside the U.S. when the visa petition is approved and when an immigrant visa number (if required) becomes available, he or she may apply for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident with the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center.

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