F4 Visa - Family Based Immigration for Siblings of US citizens

Family Preference Visas are a subcategory of US immigration visas, including the F4 visa. With these visas, Lawful Permanent Residents of the US can reconnect with their families. This includes siblings, their wives, and any underage, unmarried children, as well as brothers and sisters.

F4 Visa - Family Based Immigration for Siblings of US citizens

The US citizen must be at least 21 years old and be allowed to bring their siblings to the US to qualify for an F4 visa. As a result, they can reside in the US, work without a Work Authorization Document (EAD) but just with their Social Security Number, and pursue education opportunities thanks to the F4 visa.

The US government may only accept and process a certain amount of F4 visa applications each year, which is capped at 65,000 visas.

What are the requirements for the F4 visa?

The requirements for the F4 visa include eligibility conditions for both the siblings of the US citizen living in a foreign country and the US citizen who wants to reunite with them.

However, the only requirement for the F4 visa is that you have a sibling in the US who is a US citizen. You can be married and have children, and they would qualify for the F4 visa too, but it is not a requirement.

As for US citizen who wants to bring their siblings to the US permanently, they must fulfill these conditions:

  • You must be a US citizen
  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must have siblings in a foreign country and prove it through birth certificates or adoption documents
  • You must be living in the US and have a valid US address

How to apply for the F4 visa?

The US citizen must first apply for his siblings to immigrate to the US before submitting an F4 visa application. The petition must be authorized before the siblings, and their families begin the F4 visa application process. If the siblings apply for an F4 visa without having a petition accepted, they cannot start their application and will not be qualified. This indicates that the application is split into two sections:

  • The US Citizen petitions for their adult child, spouse, and minor children to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • When the petition is approved, the adult child and their family must apply to a US Embassy or Consulate in their home country

submitting a petition

The US citizen must submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to USCIS. The sibling must be included as the principal petitioner, and if the sibling is married and has minor children, the spouse and kids must also be listed. If the petition is successful, it will be simpler for the complete family to obtain an F4 visa.

The Department of Homeland Security receives the petition, which takes a few months to process. USCIS will subsequently notify the petitioner of its approval or denial. If a petition is rejected, the reason will be given, and the petitioner can resubmit it after making the necessary changes. Documents are forwarded to the National Visa Center if the petition is granted (NVC).

The NVC then sends instructions and documents to the applicants in the foreign country. The records contain the case number and the invoice ID number. When the application procedure starts, these will be used for the applicants to pay the fees.

However, due to the cap on the number of F4 visas available each year, the applicants can start their application process once their priority date is current. This means that you can only apply for the F4 visa when it is your turn in the chronological order of all applications for F4 visas. So, for example, if so many applications exceed two years of limits, your application will be processed in the third year.

Requesting an F-2A visa

Once your priority date is current, the NVC will let you know when you may begin the F4 visa application procedure. If you are married and have minor children, and are the sibling of a US citizen, each of you must apply for an F4 visa separately. This is done at a US Embassy or Consulate in the nation where you currently reside.

File Form DS-260

Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, is the form all immigrant visa applicants must submit. You, your spouse, and your children must each submit a DS-260 Form. This is an online form in which you must state your background information and reasons for immigration. To access it, you must enter your NVC case number so that it can link to your approved petition. When you submit the DS-260 form, you will get a confirmation page and number which you must save to send to the NVC with your other supporting documents.

Complete medical examination and vaccination

All immigrant applicants for the US must comply with the medical and vaccination requirements if they want to live permanently in the country. That is why the NVC will inform you about what medical check-ups and vaccines you and your family need to go through to complete the requirements for the F4 visa. You must visit licensed doctors, get the vaccines, and fill out the documents signed by the doctor. When you send these documents to the NVC, they will be attached as supporting ones.

Compile documents file

Your documents file must contain all the necessary documentation which supports your case. You must convince the NVC and US Embassy or Consulate that you and your family fulfill all the requirements and are eligible for the F4 visa. The file must contain the following:

Your valid passports for more than six months after your planned entry into the US (your ticket, your spouse’s, and minor children’s if applicable)

  •     A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the US petitioner (applicant’s sibling)
  •     Form DS-260 confirmation page
  •     Medical examination and vaccination documents
  •     Two photographs per individual according to the Photo Requirements for an American Visa
  •     Your valid marriage certificate to prove your marriage
  •     Birth certificates or adoption documents of your children
  •     Court and cried records and police certificate
  •     If you have been previously married, you must bring divorce or certificates of death to prove the marriage was officially terminated
  •     If you served in the military, you must bring your military records


All prospective immigrants must meet with a representative at the US Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence. You will be scheduled for this interview by the NVC when they confirm that you have provided the required paperwork and must show up on time. If you apply with your spouse and small children, they must accompany you to the interview. Your background will be discussed at the interview, and whether you should be granted an F4 visa will be decided.

Receive the NVC packet and travel to the US.

If the Embassy approves your visa, it will be stamped on your passport. With that, the Embassy will also give you a package you must bring when you first enter the US. You are not allowed to open the box under any circumstances. Instead, an immigration official at the US port of entry will open it and determine whether you can enter the country.

How much does the F4 visa cost?

There are various fees that the petitioner and the applicant must pay throughout the application process for the F4 visa. The amounts vary and are set by USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the individual US Embassy or Consulate where you apply. The main categories of fees that must be paid are as follows:

  • Form I-130 filing fee
  • Processing fee for the Form DS-260
  • Medical examination and vaccination fees
  • Fees to get and translate all the supporting documents
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee, which you must pay after you receive your visa and before you travel to the US. USCIS will not issue you a Green Card without you paying this fee.

How long is the F4 visa processing time?

Since the F4 visa has a cap on the number of permits issued each, the processing time can be very long. An F4 visa estimated time can range from 1 year to extremes of 10 years, which means that it will take long for you to be able to join your sibling in the US.

Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an F4 Visa?

You will have access to healthcare in the United States as an F4 visa holder. However, the costs of getting medical treatment in the US are one of the highest in the world.

Treating a broken leg or arm will cost you $2,500, while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000, on average. So you should pick a health insurance plan that fits you best, is affordable, and covers your needs.
Other Types of US Family-Based Immigrant Visas

The Family Green Cards are denoted with the prefix F. There are four types of these visas:

  •     F-1 visa is given to unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens and their minor children
  •     F-2 visa is given to the spouse and minor children (F-2A visa), or adult children (F-2B visa) of US Lawful Permanent Residents
  •     F-3 visa is given to married children of US citizens who will go to the US with their spouses and minor 
  •     F4 visa is given to siblings of US citizens who will go to the US with their spouses and minor children. For this visa to apply, the US citizen must be at least 21.

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