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November 2, 2009: FB-4 Sibling I-130 Issues

FB-4 Sibling I-130 Issues

In August 2006 my brother (a US citizen living in California) submitted an I-130 petition to bring me and my wife to the US from the UK where we live. Last week, he received notification that the petition had been approved, it was now being processed and would be forwarded to the US embassy in London, and that I should be hearing something within 60 days. My question is how long will it take to complete the whole process? I see the California processing center is working on applications from October 1999. Does this mean we have roughly another 7 years to wait? My final question relates to vacations – we’ve been to the US for the last 8 years on vacation. Will we be able to continue doing this now the I-130 has been approved? Many thanks.
— Anonymous

Your United States citizen brother filed an I-130 petition on your behalf to classify you as his sibling with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A sibling relationship is considered a family based fourth preference family classification. The fact that the I-130 petition was approved does not afford you any permanent immigration status at this time. The approval of the I-130 petition means that you and your brother meet all of the legal requirements to be classified as “siblings” pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Your brother’s act of filing the I-130 petition on your behalf essentially placed you in a line for a green card.

It appears that your place in line is sometime in August 2006. As of the August 2009 visa bulletin, the State Department has visa numbers available for fourth preference I-130 visa petitions that were filed before December 22, 1998. It is impossible to predict how long it will take for the visa bulletin to move from December 22, 1998 to your August 2006 priority date because it progresses and regresses on a monthly basis without prior notice. You will not be able to immigrate to the United States until a visa number becomes available for your priority date in August 2006. Your travel to the United States is not restricted by the fact that the I-130 has been approved.

You can continue to travel to visit temporarily as you have been using the visa waiver program. If you ever have the need to apply for a visitor visa be, you will have to disclose that an immigrant visa petition has been filed on your behalf by your brother. If you have additional questions the I-130 approval and/or consular processing when a visa number becomes available, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney to discuss the law and your options.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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