F-4 Visa: US Family Preference Visas

USA Visa has many types, Permanent U.S. visas are commonly known as the Green Card. If you want your family to come live with you in the U.S, then Family Preference Immigrant Visa is what you need. Its main purpose is to help families reunite with their loved ones. Immediate family members of a U.S Citizen or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) are the only ones that qualify for this type of visa. This includes spouse, children, parents, and siblings. Extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins do not qualify for this visa.

Family Preference Immigrant Visa use a prefix of F and is divided into four types:
  1. F-1 visa is for the unmarried sons and daughters and their minor children
  2. F-2 visa is for the spouse and minor children or adult children
  3. F-3 visa is for the married children and their minor children
  4. F-4 visa is for the siblings of the U.S citizen, they can also go to the U.S along with their spouse and minor children. This particular visa is allowed only if the U.S citizen is at least 21 years old.

The demand for the visa, which allows family members to go to the U.S and start a new life, is high. The U.S government comes up with a solution that each year they will limit the number of slots for family visas. Your petition will be processed in the next year if it exceeds the limit of that year and it is set in chronological order.

The next topic will focus on F4 visa, its requirements, documents required, the application process and other important details.

What is F-4 Visa?

The F-4 visa is specifically for the siblings of a U.S citizen or LPR. It is intended for the brothers and sisters together with their minor children. This visa will give them the opportunity to live, study and work in the U.S without the need for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The petitioner or the U.S citizen must also be at least 21 years old to qualify to apply for the F-4 visa.

Same with other USA visas, the F-4 visa has a limited number of slots given each year and the government will only process 65,000 visas each year.

Requirements for F-4 Visa

F-4 visa requires eligibility for both siblings of the U.S citizen who wants to reunite with the family and also the siblings who live in a foreign country. If you are married and have children, they would qualify for the visa too. The following conditions must be fulfilled by a U.S citizen who wants to bring their siblings in the U.S:

  • One must be a U.S citizen and has a valid address in the United States
  • One must be at least 21 years old
  • Proven documents such as birth certificates or adoption documents

Application Process for F-4 Visa

The application process for the F-4 visa requires the U.S citizen to petition his/her siblings to join with them in the U.S. In order for the families and their siblings to apply for the visa, it must first be approved by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the petition is denied then they cannot start the application.

  • The U.S citizen must petition for the spouse, minor children and their adult children to the USCIS.
  • If the petition is approved, the qualified family members will proceed to apply to a U.S Embassy or Consulate available on their home country.

Filing the Petition

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative must be filed by the U.S citizen and submit it to the USCIS. The specific visa is for the siblings as the main person and if the sibling is married and has a spouse and children that are at least 21 years old, they must be included in the list.

The petition is forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security and is processed within a few months. The USCIS will send a notification to the petitioner if their petition is approved or denied. If the result is denied, they would send out the reason for a deferral so that the petitioner will have time to adjust and correct their mistakes and reapply for the visa. If the petition is approved, the documents will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).

The NVC will send a package filled with instructions and important documents to the applicants living in a foreign country. The package contains the case number as well as the invoice ID number. The documents will put into use if the application process starts and is being paid by the petitioner.

The downside of it all is that the U.S. visas have a limited number of slots given each year. The applicants cannot start their application until their priority date is current. Families will have to wait for their date to be current.

F-4 Visa

The NVC will send out information to you when your date becomes current so that you can start the application process. If the qualified sibling is married and has a spouse and minor children, all of them are required to submit the visa application at a U.S Embassy or Consulate available in your home country of residence.

File Form DS-260

Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application is completed through an online form in which you must state your background information as well as your reasons for immigration. You can access it by entering the NVC case number. After submitting the DS-260 form, you will receive a confirmation page and number which you must forward it to the NVC together with your other documents.

Complete Medical Examination and Vaccination

All applicants of every type of USA visa are required to comply with the medical examination and vaccination requirements. The NVC will be the one who will provide you a complete list of medical check-ups and vaccines for you and your qualified family members. The documents must have the signature of a licensed doctor. Your documents will be saved by the NVC after you completed all the medical examinations and vaccines.

Gather Documents

Your file must have all the important documents that support your case. You must convince the NVC and the U.S Embassy that your family has completed all the requirements and are now qualified for the visa. The file must contain the following documents:

  1. A valid passport that is more than 6 months after planning to enter the U.S
  2. A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S petitioner
  3. Completed Form DS-260 confirmation page
  4. Completed medical examinations and vaccination with the signature of a licensed doctor
  5. If married, valid certificates must be included
  6. Two photographs for each qualified individual
  7. Birth certificates or adoption papers
  8. Police certificate
  9. Divorce papers if you are previously married
  10. Military records, if you served in the military

Attend the Interview

Applicants are required to attend the interview with official personnel at the U.S Embassy or Consulate available in your country of residence. The NVC will schedule an appointment for you after the NVC confirms that you completed all the necessary documents. All individuals that are registered on your list are required to attend the interview. The interviewer will ask questions about your background data and determine whether you are qualified to enter the U.S permanently.

Receive the NVC Packet and Travel to the U.S.

The U.S Embassy will stamp your passport if your visa is approved. The U.S Embassy will give you a package that you must travel along with and at any circumstance it must never be opened by you or your family members. An official immigration officer at the U.S port of entry will be the one to open the package and determine whether you are qualified to enter the country or not.

Cost of F-4 Visa

The petitioner must pay all the necessary fees throughout the whole application process for the F-4 visa. The USCIS is in charge of the amounts as well as the Department of Homeland Security and the individual U.S Embassy or Consulate where you are applying. The USCIS will not issue a green card without paying first. These are the matters that require fees that must be paid by the petitioner:

  • Filing of Form I-130
  • Form DS-260 processing fee
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • Translating all supporting documents
  • After receiving your visa, a USCIS Immigrant fee must be paid before you travel to the U.S.
  • Processing time for the F-4 type of visa

The processing time depends on the workload of the management since the F-4 visa has a limited number of slots given each year so it would probably take too long especially if there are many pending visas before you. The F-4 visa can have an estimated range of time from 1 year to 10 years so it is inevitable that families will have to wait.