If I sponsor my brother or sister for an immigrant visa, can they bring their spouse and/or their children?

Callers to our office and visitors to our website always have questions regarding whether their sibling will be able to bring a spouse and/or children with them when they come to the U.S. on the sibling of a US citizen visa application.

We understand why there are so many questions – it is because it really is confusing !!

The short answer is YES.  Your sibling does not have to be single to come to the U.S. through your petition.

When you file an I-130 for your brother or your sister, they can bring their spouse and minor children with them.  Minor children are children under the age of 21. 

USCIS and the State Department refer to the spouse and minor children as “derivatives.”  Separate petitions are not required.

A related question is – if I am a US citizen and I sponsor my brother or sister and their spouse and minor children, what happens if the children reach the age of 21 before a visa becomes available. 

In typical lawyer-like language – it depends !  USCIS uses a complicated formula to figure out if the provisions of the Child Status Protection Act apply to allow the child to continue to be considered a minor under the original petition.  One thing to keep in mind is that if the minor child ages out, but they are protected by the CSPA – that protection disappears if the child marries.

The long delays in sibling-based immigration visas cause lots of real world headaches.  If you have questions or concerns about a particular application or simply want more information about how you might sponsor a brother or sister and their family to come to the U.S. on a permanent basis, please give us a call at (314) 961-8200.