Aiming to bring your family with you to the U.S.? Family Preference Immigrant Visas are a U.S. immigrant type of visa that helps you achieve your goal. You can get this type of visa for your direct family members only and it is processed by a direct family member who is already a U.S citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Extended families such as grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles are not qualified for this type of visa. They are exclusive for the spouse, parents, siblings, or children.


You can distinguish the Family Preference Immigrant Visa because it has an F prefix and it is classified into four types:


  1. F-1 visa is for unmarried sons and daughters along with their minor children
  2. F-2 visa is for minor children or adult children and spouse
  3. F-3 visa is for married children along with their spouses and with their minor children
  4. F-4 visa is for siblings who are at least 21 years old and along with their spouses and minor children


Every type of visa has a limited number of slots given each year. The U.S. determines the cap of visas per year and is given in chronological order. Families will have to wait for their date to be current. Your visa will be processed in the next periods if your application exceeds the number of slots given each year. They will send you a notification when your application is now being processed.


This next topic will help you understand more about the F-3 visa, what are the requirements needed to submit it, the application process, and other appropriate details.


About F-3 Visa


The F-3 visa is mainly for the direct families of certified U.S. citizens who live in a foreign country. Qualifications are strict, this is only for the spouse, and minor children who are unmarried and are under 21 years old.


F-3 visa is only given to 23,400 people each year, if the limit is reached within a year then other visas will be given in chronological order.


If your F-3 visa is approved, the qualified personnel can now legally work without a need for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), study, travel and live in the U.S with only needing a Social Security Number.


Requirements for F-3 Visa


These are the following requirements to apply for an F-3 Visa, strict compliance is a must:


  1. One must have a direct family member who is a U.S citizen and can prove it through supporting documents such as birth certificates and adoption papers
  2. One must be married and can prove it through a legal marriage certificate
  3. One must be over 21 years old


As for the U.S citizen who wants to bring their adult child to the U.S permanently, they must comply with the following:


  1. One must be a U.S citizen and have a verified address
  2. One must have an adult child in a foreign country and can prove it through birth certificates or adoption documents




F-3 visa is intricate and you need to follow all the necessary steps to avoid being denied. It begins with the U.S. citizen who petitions the U.S. authorities to grant permission to have their adult children, spouse, and minor children to come to the U.S and live with them. Once the petition is approved, the family who they petitioned for will start the application process. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must first approve your application before proceeding with the application. If the USCIS denies your application then you are not eligible for this type of visa.


The application is divided into two parts:


  1. The U.S citizen must first petition for their adult child, spouse, and minor children
  2. If your petition is approved by the USCIS, your family will then proceed with the application to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate that are available in their home country.


Petition Filing


The U.S citizen must complete the filing of form I-130, which is a Petition for Alien Relative to USCIS. The file then goes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where the processing takes place. The U.S. citizen must make sure that their qualified spouse, minor children, and adult child will be listed on the petition to make sure that the whole family is eligible to get the F-3 visa and go to the U.S.


The USCIS processes your petition and they will respond depending on their workload maybe within a few months. The USCIS will give you the reasons for denial, only when your application is denied so that the U.S. citizen who petitioned will have time to comply with the requirements and adjust their petition and file it again. If your petition is approved by the USCIS, all of the supporting documents will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).


The NVC will send you a package that contains all the necessary documents as well as instructions to the applicants in the foreign country. The documents inside the package will be used to apply for the actual visa at the U.S. Embassy together with the corresponding fees. It contains your case number and it includes your invoice ID number.


The only downside of this particular visa the F-3 is that they only give a limited number of slots each year. Even if your visa is approved but your priority date is not current, you cannot start the application process. Chances are that many applications are being processed before you which surpasses the limit of the F-3 visas. Families will have to wait for their turn. The NVC will send you a notification if your date is current and you can now start the two application process.


Applying for an F-2A visa


You can now open the package that you received from them and use the instructions and documents to initiate your application process for the F-3 visa. Each individual that you listed in the petition such as your spouse as well as your minor children must submit a visa application. This could only be done after the NVC sends you a notification that your date has become current. The application takes place at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate available in your country.


File Form DS-260


Immigrant Visa Electronic Application or Form DS-260 is the form that is necessary to comply with the applicant. Each of the members that you listed in the petition such as yourself, your spouse, and your children must submit a DS-260 form. The application process can be completed online and should contain the complete background information and also state the reason why you want to go to the U.S. That package that they gave you contains the NVC case number for you to gain access to your DS-260 form. You will get a confirmation page and number as soon as you complete filing the form and you must then send all your documents to the NVC and store it as a part of your documents file.


Medical Examination and Vaccination


One important thing is that you must have a complete medical examination and vaccination when applying for any type of USA visa available. The NVC will give you a complete series of medical examinations as well as vaccines. Each individual that you petitioned for is required to complete the lists that the NVC gave. All medical documents must have the signature of a licensed doctor. Once you completed the list, you can now submit it to the NVC as part of your documents file.


Compiling Documents


Your documents file must contain all the required papers which support your case. You must convince the NVC and U.S Embassy or Consulate that you and your family accomplish all the requirements needed and are eligible to get the F-3 visa. The file must contain the following:


  1. More than 6 months passport after your planned entry into the U.S including your spouse’s, and minor children’s
  2. Form DS-260
  3. Signed Form I-864
  4. Valid birth certificates or adoption documents of your children
  5. Medical examination and vaccination documents signed by a licensed physician
  6. Each individual must have two photographs each
  7. If married, a valid marriage certificate to prove your marriage
  8. Court and criminal records and/or police certificate
  9. You must bring divorce or certificates of death to prove the marriage was officially terminated if you are divorced
  10. You must bring your military records if you served in the military


Attending the Interview


If you convince the NVC that you are eligible for this type of visa and can support it through all the necessary documents, the NVC will book an appointment for you for an interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate available in your country. Each individual that you petitioned for must attend the interview, with no exceptions. The U.S. Embassy simply asks you about your background and your reasons. The U.S. Embassy will then decide whether you are eligible to get the F-3 visa.


Receive NVC Package and Travel to the U.S.


If your visa is successfully approved and you and your family claim the F-3 visa, it will be stamped on your passports by the U.S. Embassy. You will also receive a package that you must bring with you when you travel to the U.S. and enter for the first time with your immigrant visas. You are not allowed to open the packet, only the immigration officials at the U.S. port of entry are allowed to open it and decide whether you are qualified to enter the U.S. or not.


F-3 Visa Fees


There are numerous fees that the petitioner and the applicant must pay throughout the application process for the F-3 visa. The amounts vary and are set only by USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security and the individual U.S Embassy or Consulate where you are applying. These are the following fees that must be paid:


  1. Filing the Form I-130
  2. Form DS-260 processing fee
  3. Medical examination including vaccination fees
  4. Translating all the supporting documents
  5. After you receive your visa and before you travel in the U.S


Processing Time


Family green cards have a cut-off per year so the processing time may take an extended time. Some can range up from 1 year or up to 10 years. This is because many people are applying for this type of visa and cannot manage it all at once.