My sibling has US citizenship and my parents just got their green cards. I'm over 21 and from a small country in eastern Europe currently residing in the US on a student visa. If my sibling and parents collectively petition for my green card, how long will it take before I get my green card?

Will hiring an immigration lawyer expedite things?

2 Answers 2


If your sibling petitions you, it will be in the F4 category (sibling of US citizen), which currently has a wait for visa numbers of almost 13 years (longer for people born in Mexico and the Philippines).

If you are unmarried, and one of your parents petitions you, it will be in the F2B category (unmarried over-21 child of permanent resident), which currently has a wait of almost 7 years (longer for people born in Mexico and the Philippines). Note that you must remain unmarried during this time (at least not before the parent becomes a citizen), as there is no category for married children of permanent residents.

They can both petition you. Assuming you remain unmarried, and you were not born in Mexico, and the visa number backlogs trends stay the same in the future, a visa number will be available much sooner through the parent's petition.

  • Although the news are sad . I am still very grateful for telling me this . Alas, the us immigration system is broken ...
    – 372
    Aug 12, 2015 at 1:43
  • 1
    @372 Note that most countries in the world treat siblings and, in many cases, adult children as complete strangers (i.e. there are special visas or easier paths to legal immigration for spouses and young children but not for extended family). It's still frustrating for those in this situation of course but it's difficult to consider that the US system is worse than any other because of this.
    – Gala
    Aug 12, 2015 at 9:55

If your US citizen sibling (as long as he/she is over 21) petitions for you, you would fall under the Family Preference Category which has a waiting list:

Congress has limited the number of relatives who may immigrate under these categories each year so there is usually a waiting period before an immigrant visa number becomes available.

The amount of time you would have to wait depends on a number of possible factors:

  • The demand for and supply of immigrant visa numbers
  • The per country visa limitations
  • The number of visas allocated for your particular preference category

If one of your parents petitions for you, you would fall under Green Card for a Family Member of a Permanent Resident which is a lower preference category than being petitioned by a US citizen (a lower preference category means it will probably take even longer).


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