Normally, siblings fall under the fourth preference category of family immigration. According to the INA, U.S. citizens who are over 21 years of age can file for a visa petition for their brothers and sisters. For immigration purposes, these siblings need to be children of a common parent at some point. This requirement has caused a lot of confusion for petitioners who want to apply for their step siblings.
Eligibility of Stepsiblings
First of all the petitioner needs to be a U.S. citizen. Second, the petitioner and the beneficiary should be children of a at least one “common parent”. Third, the relationship establishing sibling relationship should still exist or if parents are divorced, the family relationship of the siblings should continue to exist.
Peter was born out of his father’s first marriage. His father re-married. This time, the woman he married has a daughter from her first marriage. The daughter’s name is Maria. Peter and Maria have not met yet in person but are constantly updating each other through emails and occasional phone calls. Peter’s father and Maria’s mother got divorced after sometime. Peter decided to file a visa petition for Maria after the divorce. Can Peter do this?
Yes, if he can provide evidence that a sibling relationship between him and Maria exists even after the divorce.
Peter and Maria have been children of a common parent at some point (while Peter’s father and Maria’s mother were still married). However, after the divorce, the relationship that made them siblings seized to exist. The remedy is to prove that even after the divorce, the petitioner and the beneficiary’s relationship continue to exist (e.g. phone calls, visits).
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