United States citizens who are at least 21 years old may file immigrant visa petitions for their siblings and their siblings’ families. Under the law a sibling also includes half-brothers and half-sisters, as long as there is one biological parent in common. At the time of immigration a sibling of a US citizen can also bring his or her spouse and any children under age 21. Some children over 21 years old may be granted visas as well, based on the Child Status Protection Act of 2000.
Unfortunately there are currently many people around the world waiting to immigrate in this family category and the number of visas is limited. That means that a US citizen and his or her sibling may wait for many years before a visa is available. As with any family-based immigration process, the first step is to file a visa petition. This petition may be approved as quickly as 6 months to a year later, however the family must continue to wait for the visa backlog to clear. A person’s place in the visa waiting list is based on when they initially filed a family petition. An approved family petition does not confer legal immigration status upon the beneficiary. Therefore, with some exceptions, it is very important that family members present in the US maintain constant lawful immigration status while they wait for visas to be available to them.
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