USA and the UK
What is the F4 Visa?
The F4 Visa is a type of Family Based Green Card, and is a fourth category Preference Relative visa designed for the siblings of U.S. citizens. This visa enables U.S. citizens to reunite with their families in the United States.
To be eligible, you must be the brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old. The F4 Visa can also be used to bring your spouse and minor children with you to the United States.
Once you get your permit, you will be allowed to live and work freely in the United States, as well as get a Social Security Number and study in the country.
Every year, only 65,000 successful applicants can receive F4 Visa status. Due to the yearly cap, your permit can be issued only when your F4 Visa priority date becomes current.
Who is Eligible for the F4 Visa?
An applicant will need to provide a number of documents in their F4 Visa application, which are explained in greater detail below.
The spouse and the children of the applicant are eligible to join them in the U.S..
Each of the family members who wish to reside in the United States must complete an F4 Visa application.
What are the Sponsor Requirements for an F4 Visa?
The U.S. sponsor must meet a few certain conditions in order to be eligible to be a sponsor. These are:
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be at least 21-years-old
- Must be able to prove they have siblings in a foreign country through a birth certificate or adoption documents
- Must be living in the U.S. with a valid address
What is the F4 Visa Application Process?
The F4 visa application has two main stages which are the petition stage and the actual visa application stage.
The full application process can be lengthy, with many steps to be passed before completion. Here is the process in full:
- Sponsor completes petition
- USCIS processes the petition. If the petition is accepted, the USCIS will send the application and documents to the National Visa Center (NVC)
- NVC sends the foreign applicant a packet of instructions and documents, detailing the next steps in the process
- Wait for your date to become current and then begin the F4 Visa application process
- Each individual completes Form DS-260
- Each applicant completes medical examination and has required vaccinations
- Compile required documents
- Attend visa interview at U.S. embassy/consulate
- Receive packet from NVC and travel to the United States
If you would like more information on the F4 visa application process, please contact us now on +1 844 290 6312.
What is the Petition Stage?
The process of receiving an F4 Visa begins with the petition. The petition must be completed by the applicant’s sponsor in the U.S..
The petition form which needs to be completed is the I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative. The sponsor must also pay a fee of $535 when they submit the petition.
The petition needs to list the sibling as the main person in the application. The sponsor will also need to include the spouse and children of their sibling’s family in the petition if they want to reside in the United States.
The petition is processed by the Department of Homeland Security and will usually be processed within a few months. The petitioner will be informed by the USCIS of the decision they have reached.
If the petition is accepted, the NVC will send the foreign applicants a package containing information and documents which explain the next steps in the process.
If the petition is rejected, the petitioner will be notified of the reasons for the rejection. They will have the chance to amend the petition as necessary, and can then resubmit it.
What do I Need to Know about the Medical Examination and Vaccinations?
The medical examination and vaccinations are a key component of any U.S. immigration application for permanent residency.
Documents which show that the medical examination and vaccinations have been taken must be included in your bundle of documents, and these documents must be signed by a doctor.
The NVC will inform you of all the medical and vaccination requirements. Every member of the family who wants to reside in the United States must complete these medical and vaccination requirements.
What are the Required Documents for an F4 Visa?
With any F4 visa application, you will need to compile a number of documents to form your portfolio evidence.
Ultimately, you need to be able to prove to the NVC and U.S. embassy/consulate that you and your family fulfil all the requirements to attaining an F4 Visa.
The specific documents which need to be provided may differ depending on the specific case. Still, the following documents will definitely need to be included in the application:
- Valid passports for more than six months after your planned entry into the U.S. (This applies to all members of the family looking to reside in the U.S.)
- Confirmation pages of DS-260 forms
- A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from U.S. petitioner
- Medical examination and vaccination documents
- Two photographs per individual
- Valid marriage certificate to prove marriage (if applicable)
- Birth or adoption certificates of children (if applicable)
- Court and criminal records and any police certificate
- If you have been married previously, must provide divorce certificate or certificate of death to prove marriage was officially terminated
- If you served in the military, must provide military records
You need to submit your documents to the NVC, who will determine whether you have met the requirements.
What is the Immigration Interview?
If the NVC accepts your application, you will be invited to an interview at a U.S embassy or consulate in your home country. All members of the family who wish to reside in the United States must attend this interview.
The interviewer will consider your application and ask you a series of questions. If the interviewer is satisfied, the passports of the travelling family members will be stamped with the F4 visa, and you will be free to travel to the U.S. with your family.
You will also receive a package from the Embassy which you must take with you when you travel to the U.S.. You need to give this package, unopened, to the immigration official when you arrive in the United States.
What are the Fees for an F4 Visa?
There are a number of fees which need to be taken into account with an F4 Visa application.
The fees for the F4 Visa differ depending on the individual’s personal circumstances and the embassy through which they apply for the F4 Visa.
The general fees which need to be taken into consideration are:
- I-130 petition application fee
- DS-260 application processing fee
- Fees for any translation of your documents
- Medical examination and vaccination fees
- USCIS Immigrant Fee. This needs to be paid after you receive your visa and before you travel to the United States
How Long Does it Take for an F4 Visa to be Processed?
Unfortunately, the processing time for an F4 Visa application can be extremely long and it can vary widely depending on the nationality of the applicant/s.
F4 Visas are processed in chronological order, which means there could be many visa applications to be processed before yours.
Some F4 Visa applications are processed relatively quickly, within a year. However, in more extreme cases, it can take up to 10 years for an F4 Visa to be processed.
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To meet the F4 Visa requirements, you must:
- Have a sibling in the U.S. who holds citizenship status and has a valid address in the country;
- Be able to prove your kinship through birth certificates or adoption documents;
- Be living outside the U.S. at the time of your application.
Since your family status does not affect your F4 Visa eligibility, you can be married and have dependent children. In addition, you may bring your family to the U.S. with you.
Your F4 Visa process begins when your U.S sponsor files a petition for you to enter the U.S.
This is known as the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130), and it needs to be approved by the USCIS before you can submit your F4 application form.
The I-130 Petition is usually processed within a few months. When this happens, you will receive a package of instructions from the National Visa Center (NVC). However, all F4 applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. This means you can proceed only when your visa current date becomes current.
If there are no more visas available for your category at the time of your application, you must wait for the following year. When the NVC informs you that you can start your F4 application process, you can submit your Form DS-160. If you are traveling with your family, it is essential to include the details of your dependents in your application form.
As all immigrant applicants for the U.S., you must comply with specific medical and vaccination requirements. This includes a complete medical check-up completed by an accredited professional.
If your application is successful, you will be summoned for an interview at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Your spouse and children must accompany you if they are also seeking the F4 Visa status.
Your F4 Visa supporting portfolio must contain all the necessary documents to prove your eligibility. This includes:
- The original passport of each applicant. This must be valid for more than six months after the date you intend to enter the U.S.;
- A signed Affidavit of Support (Form I-864);
- Medical and vaccination documents;
- Evidence of your relationship with your U.S. sponsor;
- Certificates and documents to prove your kinship with your dependents (if applicable);
- Court and criminal records, or police certificates.
If you hold different documents that you believe may be beneficial for your application, you should consult your lawyer. Your adviser will be able to advise you on the best evidence to attach to your petition.
Like other Family-based permits, the F4 Visa has a fixed cap to be met every year. In other words, it may take from a few months to several years until your F4 current date becomes current. Only then you will be notified that there is a visa available for you.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict the processing time for your F4 application. However, you can check the status of your petition at any time by checking the official F4 bulletin released by the USCIS.
If your relatives wish to join you in the U.S., they can apply for one of the family-based visas. This category of nonimmigrant permits is designed for the following eligible categories:
- First Preference and Second Preference Visas for spouses and unmarried children of U.S. citizens and LPRs (F1 and F2A Visas);
- Second Preference Visa for adult unmarried children (F2b Visa);
- Third Preference Visa for adult married children (F3 Visa).
At IAS, our attorneys can offer professional advice on different immigration issues. One of our main areas of expertise is family immigration, including F4 Visa applications.
As a part of our advice services, your case will be followed by one of our best lawyers. He or she will discuss your case to understand your needs and help you get your Family Visa.
Our attorneys always do their best to avoid delays in every application. Besides, they are experienced in offering different alternatives in the case of visa denials.
We can also help you gather the supporting documents that you need to prove your relationship with your siblings. Depending on your circumstances, we will find the best way to make your application successful.
Get in touch today with our experts to learn more about our immigration advice packages.