An F-4 Visa also belongs to the Family Preference Category of US Family Based Green Cards. It is designed for siblings of United States citizens but if their application is successful, their dependents can also enter the US. F-4 Visa holders are allowed to settle in the US permanently, work and study at US academic institutions.
Since the F-4 visa is one of the Family Preference Visas, it is also subject to the annual cap on how many can be granted to applicants. Every year it is estimated that 65,000 visas are issued to foreign nationals.
Who is Eligible for an F-4 Visa
The F-4 visa serves for siblings of US citizens. However, there are some requirements that the US citizen must meet. Those are:
- They are the beneficiary of a US citizenship status
- They must be 21 years of age or older
- They have siblings living in the overseas and are able to demonstrate their relationship through birth certificates and other important documents
- They are residing in the US and have a valid address
If a U.S. citizen is unable to meet the requirements, they cannot become a petitioner and their siblings cannot start the application process for the F-4 visa.
Going Through the F-4 Application Process
Before the applicant starts the F-4 visa application procedure the US citizen needs to complete a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The US petitioner is required to pay a fee when submitting the petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Without paying that fee the foreign national will not be able to move forward with their visa application.
In the petition, the US citizen needs to state that they are starting the visa application process on behalf of their sibling, who then becomes the primary applicant in the application. If the sibling wants to bring their spouse or children to the US, the US sponsor also needs to include them in the form.
As soon as the petition is filed, the Department of Homeland Security processes the application within a few months. When a decision is made on the application USCIS then issues a notification to the US citizen. If in any case the US citizen does not receive a notice he or she can contact an immigration lawyer immediately to help them inquire about the status of their application.
How Long is the Processing Time for an F-4 Visa
If you want to apply for an F-4 visa, you must prepare to wait for quite some time before the application process is completed. How long you must wait is dependent on foreign country you are from and the workload of the US Embassy or Consulate where you are applying from. Regardless of the wait time, just know that there is a limited number of F-4 visas processed on a yearly basis. Once that limit is reached, USCIS does not review any applications until the following year. This means that there might be many visa applicants waiting in line before you.
It is Best To Contact Your Nearest Local Immigration Attorney
Any US citizen applying for his or her sibling to travel to the US will be better off getting help from an immigration law firm before filing a petition. You will have a higher success rate if you have a lawyer guiding you through each step of the process. Call Gambacorta Law Office, today at 847 443 9303 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.