Family Preference visas (F Visas) allow Lawful Permanent Residents to bring their family members to the United States. Family members include spouse, children, parents, and siblings. The types of these visas are F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4.
Our primary focus in this article is on the details of the USA F4 Visa. Therefore, in the next paragraphs, we will read about the visa application process, its requirements, costs, priority date, and processing time.
What is the USA F4 Visa?
This visa allows Lawful Permanent Residents to bring their siblings to the US. Besides the siblings, their spouses, and unmarried children who are under 21 years old can also apply for this visa.
Visa holders have many benefits. For example, they can work without obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EDA). They can also continue their studies in the US. Unfortunately, all eligible people cannot receive their F4 visas immediately due to an annual cap. Therefore in most cases, the applicants for this visa have to wait for a long time to become current their priority date.
What are the requirements for this visa?
All people who want to obtain this visa must consider the following conditions:
- You need to have a sibling who has Lawful Permanent Resident.
- If you are married, your spouse and single offspring under the age of 21 may also be eligible for this visa.
A US citizen, as a sponsor, must also have the following characteristics:
- He/she must be a US citizen.
- His/her age must be at least 21 years old.
- To prove the relationship between you and your sponsor, providing a birth certificate is necessary.
- A US citizen must have a valid address in this country.
How to apply for this visa?
The visa application process has two steps. A US citizen must first file a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the request is approved, the visa applicants and their families must start the visa application process in their home country.
File a petition to the USCIS
The US citizen must first submit his or her petition to the USCIS by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. In this petition, the sibling is considered the principal applicant. If they are married, their family members must also be listed on the petition.
The Department of Homeland Security first reviews and processes the petition within a few months. The USCIS will then announce the result of the petition.
USCIS will notify the petitioner of the outcome of the petition. If your appeal is rejected, the reasons will be explained. Otherwise, applicants and their families can initiate the application process in their home country. If your petition is approved, the USCIS sends your file to the National Visa Center (NVC) to further process. The NVC first provides a package along with a case number and invoice ID number to you in your home country. The package contains some instructions explaining the details of the application process.
As the annual issuance of these visas is limited, once the petition is approved, the application process does not start immediately. In other words, the applicants have to wait until their priority dates become current. Therefore, you will receive the package from NVC, if it is your turn in chronological order.
Apply for the USA F4 Visa
When your priority date becomes current, NVC will send you a package that explains the visa application process. The previous step is done by your sponsor in the United States, but this step is done by you as the USA F4 visa applicant in your home country. The steps for applying for an F4 visa are:
1. Complete and submit Form DS-260
To access this form, you can visit the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. All applicants for immigrant visas, including F4 visas, must complete this form carefully. After completing the form, a confirmation page will appear that you must save.
2. Perform medical examinations and vaccinations
The package sent by NVC explains what tests and checkups you should do. For this aim, you should go to a licensed physician to do some examinations and complete some forms. The documents obtained from this step must be submitted to the NVC in the next step.
3. Submit the supporting documents to the NVC
To ascertain that you are eligible for the USA F4 visa, you must provide the following documents to NVC:
- Valid Passport: Please note that the validity of your passport must be at least six months from your arrival date in the United States.
- Form DS-260 confirmation page
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support that is signed by your sponsor
- Documents related to medical examinations
- Two photos
- Provide marriage certificate and birth certificate
- Criminal records
- If you are already married, you must prove that your marriage is over by providing documents such as a divorce certificate or death certificate.
- If you have military records, you can also provide them.
4. Attend an interview
All US visa applicants, both immigrants, and nonimmigrants must be interviewed. If all your documents are correct, NVC will schedule an interview at the embassy. You must attend the interview on the due date and answer the questions of the consular officer carefully and honestly. Based on your answers and the evidence you provide, the consular officer will make the ultimate decision on whether or not you will be granted an F4 visa. If your family has also applied for a visa, they should also be interviewed.
5. Get another package of NVC and travel to the USA
If your visa application is approved, the visa will be stamped in your passport. The embassy will then give you another package of NVC. You should not open this packet under any circumstances. This package is opened by an immigration officer when you arrive in the United States. Then, based on the information on this package, they will make the final decision about your arrival in the United States.
How much does it cost to apply for a USA F4 visa?
The F4 visa applicants and their sponsors will have to pay different fees for different services. Since the amount of these costs varies, it is not possible to estimate the total amount of the payment. But note that a fee must be paid for each of the following services:
- Filing Form I-130
- Form DS-260 processing
- Performing medical examinations and vaccinations
- Translation of the necessary documents into English
- Getting the supporting documents
- All USA F4 visa applicants must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee before entering the United States. Otherwise, you can not apply for a Green Card.
How long does it take to assess the documents and issue the USA F4 Visa?
Given the small number of F4 visas issued each year, it is quite evident that the processing time for the USA F4 visa is a bit long. Most applicants have to wait from one year to even ten years to be able to join their family members in the US.
Let’s sum up …
In this article, we have answered the questions that you may face in the process of applying for a USA F4 visa. You can read about other US visas as well as how to immigrate to other countries on the Visa Library website.
If you have experience in the visa application process, you can share it with other readers and us through the comments section. Conveying your experiences is invaluable because it helps others make better decisions. We are also pleased to receive your constructive suggestions and questions.