U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents cannot sponsor their nephews or nieces to get a Green Card.
However, as a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor your nephew’s or niece’s parents if one of them is your sibling for lawful status in America, under the family preference category, and your nephew or niece can come to the U.S. as a dependant.
While you file an immigrant petition for your sibling, your nephew or niece can be listed on that petition as a dependent and they can become a lawful resident while your sibling becomes a lawful resident. They may immigrate only if they are below age 21 and unmarried.
If your nephew or niece is either married or 21 years or older then the pathway will be extended. You can sponsor your sibling and when they become Green Card holders they need to become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship and then they need to become U.S. citizens after which they can sponsor their married son or daughter. This is not a direct method but it is an option for you to help your nephew or niece to come to the U.S. It will take a long time unless immigration rules change.
Similarly, if your nephew or niece didn’t become permanent residents along with your sibling when they obtained U.S. Green Cards through a preference classification your sibling may petition for their children for follow-to-join benefits. Moreover, a separate Form I-130 need not be filed for them, and may not be required to wait until a visa number becomes available.
To apply for an immigrant visa, your sibling must prove that a relationship exists between him/her and your nephew or niece and that your sibling obtained lawful status in a family preference category. If your sibling meets the requirements, he/she must file, Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition along with the petition that he/she filed while applying for lawful status, a copy of Form I-797, Notice of Action, and a copy of his/her Green Card.
Your sibling who is in the United States can file Form I-824 for your nephew or niece, if he/she has not yet filed Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, for adjustment of status, and in this case, he/she must file Form I-824 for his/her son while he/she files Form I-485 for adjustment of status.
However, your sibling will have to contact the National Visa Center (NVC), to file a petition to sponsor his/her son, if he/she obtained an immigrant visa from an overseas U.S. consulate. Hence, you can indirectly help your nephew to immigrate to the United States by sponsoring his parents for U.S. Green Cards.
How long will it take to sponsor a nephew or niece?
Your siblings are not your immediate relatives and they will be put on waiting lists and will be granted immigrant visas only after the priority dates become current and after visa numbers in their particular categories become current. As of 2022, the time it takes for U.S. citizens to sponsor Green Card for siblings to help them become lawful permanent residents is more than 10 years. If the nephew or niece is added as a dependant then it will take the same time. However, if they are using the Follow to join then it could take a few more months.
If your nephew or niece is married or over age 21 at the time of your sibling getting a Green Card then the best possible time it can take will be about 15 to 17 years. This includes your sibling getting a Green Card and then becoming a U.S. citizen and then sponsoring their married child for a Green Card.
Can Green Card holders sponsor nephew or niece?
Green Card holders cannot sponsor siblings for a Green Card and in turn, cannot sponsor their nephew or niece. So becoming a U.S. citizen can be a good option if you are looking to sponsor your nephew or niece. But the waiting time can be a deal-breaker. There are other ways you can sponsor your nephew/niece to come to the U.S.
Indirect ways to sponsor nephew or niece
If you own a business in America and if your nephew/niece is above age 18 and if he/she has the relevant skills, you may offer him/her a full-time job and sponsor him/her for a U.S. Green Card based on employment. You cannot file a family-based petition to sponsor a U.S. Green Card. If you don’t own a business then somebody else should hire him or her based on employment to get a Green Card.
Similarly, if your nephew/niece is interested in starting a business in America, he/she can invest in the country and obtain an EB-5 visa and immigrate to America. This might not be direct sponsoring but it is an option for them to immigrate to the U.S.
U.S. citizens are allowed to sponsor a few different categories of relatives such as spouses, parents, unmarried and married children below and above age 21, and siblings, whereas Green Card holders can only sponsor their children and their spouses.
However, there is another option to sponsor your nephew if your nephew’s parents are unable to take care of your nephew and if you have adopted him, you can sponsor your adopted son for a U.S. Green Card. In this case, you need to be aware of the laws that are in effect and the other requirements.
To understand more about your options connect with an immigration lawyer today.