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Is your sibling ready to join you in the U.S?

Your successful application for U.S. citizenship has opened many doors for you. You may be preparing to vote in Colorado primary elections, seeking financial aid for your education, or applying for one of the many enticing federal jobs for which your citizenship makes you eligible to apply. Perhaps equally important to you is that your status in the U.S. is secure, and as long as you abide by the laws of the land, you will not have to fear deportation.

Another benefit exclusive to citizens is the ability to sponsor a family member for permanent resident status in the U.S. If you have a sibling who has eagerly waited for you to obtain citizenship for this reason, you may now be ready to explore the process of petitioning on your sibling's behalf.

Preparing your petition

As you probably already know, most processes involving the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services require documentation. This is because the USCIS wants to verify that you are who you say you are. Your eligibility to sponsor your sibling depends on your ability to prove this by presenting copies of these documents:

  • Your birth certificate
  • The birth certificate of your sibling with the name of at least one parent in common with the names on your birth certificate
  • Your certificate of citizenship

You will also submit a complete and accurate Form I-130. If you are unable to produce your citizenship certificate, USCIS will accept copies of your passport or naturalization certificate. If you were born in the U.S., your U.S. birth certificate will work as will a Consular Report if you were born abroad to U.S. parents.

Of course, if your sibling has married, been adopted or otherwise gone through a name change, you will need to include documentation of this, for example a marriage certificate, adoption decree or judgment from the court that ordered the name change.

Waiting for approval

During the process of waiting for approval of your petition, your sibling may not enter the U.S. unless he or she qualifies for certain exceptions. It is important that your sibling does not come to the U.S. without legal documentation as this could harm your petition for his or her permanent resident status.

In the event that the USCIS denies your petition, you have the right to appeal. As with most immigration processes, this is a complex and delicate undertaking, and you would benefit from legal counsel to obtain advice on the best way to proceed to maximize your chances of a successful appeal.

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