The F4 visa is a visa for siblings of US citizens. It is the fourth family preference visa.
The F4 US Visa falls in a category of US immigrant visas called the family preference visas. The F4 visa is part of this category. This visa allows lawful US permanent residents and citizens to reunite with members of their family. In the case of the F4 Visa, it refers to brothers and sisters and their spouses if applicable, and their children if they are minors.
The US citizen must be at least 21 years old and before they can qualify to bring their siblings to the US under the F4 visa. With the F4 visa, the invited family members can live and work in the US without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) but only with their social security number. Also, the F4 Visa USA holder can also enroll in studies.
The F-4 visa has an annual cap of 65, 000 per year which therefore limits the number of applications that are accepted and processed by the US government.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE F4 VISA?
To obtain an F4 visa, there are eligibility conditions for both the citizens of the United States and their siblings who live in a foreign country.
The applicant’s only requirement is that you have a sibling who is a US citizen and lives in the US. If you are married with children they can have the F4 visa too but it’s not a mandatory requirement.
As a US citizen, you must fulfill these conditions to bring your siblings to the US permanently:
- You must be at least 21 years old and above
- You must be able to prove that you are siblings with the person you are petitioning for using a birth or adoption certificate.
- You must be a US citizen
- You must be living within the US and must have a registered US address with the authorities.
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE F4 VISA?
To begin the application process for the F4 visa, the US citizen must file a petition for his or her siblings in the foreign country to join them in the US. For the siblings and their families to start applying for the F4 visa, this petition must be approved. The siblings will not be eligible and cannot start their application for an F4 visa without an approved petition. The application is divided into two parts:
- The US citizen must petition for their sibling and their family if applicable, to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- When the petition is approved, the sibling and their family must apply for the F4 visa to a US embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
FILING THE PETITION
The application process only starts when the US citizen files the petition to USCIS. The petition is filed by submitting a completed form I-130, petition for alien relatives to USCIS. The petition must include the sibling as the main person and if the sibling is married and has minor children, it must also list the spouse and children. This makes it easier for the whole family to get F4 visas if the petition is approved. After the US citizen has paid the fees, the petition goes through the department of homeland security.
The USCIS processes this petition and responds within a few months depending on their workload. If the petition is denied, reasons for denial will be given to the US citizen to make it possible for them to adjust the petition and try again. If the petition is approved, the documents are then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The person applying for the F4 Visa in the foreign country will receive a package containing documents and instructions from the NVC. These documents contain your case number when you filed the petition and invoice ID number, which is going to be used when you will be applying for the actual visa at the US embassy as well as paying all the fees that will be required.
However, even if the petition you filed has been approved, you will not be able to apply for the visa if it is not yet your priority date. This is so because the F4 Visa has an annual limit. By implication, if many other applications before you pass the limit of the F4 visas, you will therefore have to wait for your own turn. For example, in a situation where are so many applications that exceed two years of limit, your application will not be processed until the third year. The NVC will notify you when your date is current and can now begin with the second step of the application process.
APPLYING FOR THE F4 VISA
When the NVC notifies you that your priority date has become current, you can then use the instructions sent to you in the package to begin the application process to get the F4 visa. If you as the sibling of the US citizen are married and have minor children, each individual must submit an F4 visa application. This application is done at the US embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
FILE FORM DS-260
Form DS-260; immigrant visa electronic application is the form that must be filed by all applicants for immigrant visas to the US. You, your spouse, and children must submit a DS-260 form. The form is completed online and will require detailed information about your background and reasons for immigration. To access your DS-260 form, enter the NVC case number that you got in the instructional package so that it can link to your approved petition. When you submit the form, a confirmation page shall be given to you. This page must be later on sent to the NVC as part of your document file.
COMPLETE MEDICAL EXAMINATION AND TRAVEL TO THE US
For all those immigrating to the US, certain medical examinations and vaccinations are mandatory. This is why the NVC will inform you about the required check-ups and vaccines for you and your family. A licensed doctor must complete your examinations and sign a document that states that you have taken the necessary vaccinations.
COMPILE DOCUMENTS FILE
All the necessary documentation, which supports your case, must be in your documents file. The NVC and US embassy or consulate must be convinced of your eligibility to get the F4 visa.
The following must be in the document file for an F4 visa USA:
- Your valid passport for more than 6 months after your intended entry into the US
- Medical examination and vaccination documents
- Court and criminal records or police certificates
- A signed form I-864 affidavit of support from the US petitioner or LPR (applicant’s siblings)Your children’s valid
- birth or adoption certificate
- Your valid marriage certificate
- If you have been previously married, death or divorce certificate must be present.
- Form DS-260 confirmation page
- Two photographs per individual according to the photo requirement for an American visa.
- If you served in the military you must bring your military records
Every applicant for the US immigrant visa must go through an interview with US officials at the US embassy. This is the final step before you can get your visa. After having processed all your documents and determine that fulfill the requirements, the NVC then goes ahead to schedule your interview at the US embassy or consulate in your country of residence. If your spouse and minor children are also applying, they must accompany you to the embassy. You must respect this date and be on time. An official from the embassy will run this interview and determine whether or not you are suitable for the F4 visa.
RECEIVE NVC PACKAGE AND TRAVEL TO THE US
After the interview, the embassy will notify the applicant if their visa has been granted or not. The embassy will give the applicant a sealed package from the NVC if their visa is approved. They must bring this packet along with them when they travel to the US for the first time. Under no circumstance should this packet be opened. The only people allowed to open it are the US immigration officials at the US port of entry and they will determine whether to let you into the US or not.
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HOW MUCH DOES THE F4 VISA USA COST?
Throughout the application process for the F4 visa, various fees must be paid by the petitioner and the applicant. These amounts are set by USCIS, the department of homeland security and the individual embassy or consulate where you are applying and the amounts vary. Here below are the main categories of fees that must be paid:
- Form I-130 filing fee
- Processing fee for the Form DS-260
- Medical examination and vaccination fees
- Fees to get and translate all supporting documents
- USCIS immigrant fee that must be paid after receiving your visa and before traveling to the US. USCIS will not issue you a green card if you do not pay this fee.
HOW LONG IS F4 VISA PROCESSING TIME?
The processing time for the family green cards can be quite long because there are caps. The processing time for the F4 visa can range from a year up to extreme cases of 10 years. This delay can be explained by the fact that there are so many people applying who all can’t be attended to at the same time. By implication, it may take longer for you to join your sibling in the US.
DO I GET ACCESS TO AMERICAN HEALTHCARE WITH AN F4 VISA?
As an F4 visa holder, you will get access to American health care. However, the cost of getting medical treatment in the US is one of the most expensive in the world.
It will cost you $2500 to treat a broken arm or leg while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000 0n average. It is advisable to pick a health insurance plan that fits you best, which overall is also affordable and covers your needs.
WHERE CAN I GET HEALTH INSURANCE?
Private companies such as VisitorsCoverage, offer cheap health insurance coverage plans for lawful permanent residents in the US.
WHY DO WE ADVISE TO PURCHASE A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN THROUGH VISITORSCOVERAGE?
- They have over 2 million satisfied clients, are highly rated for their outstanding customer service, attention to detail and hassle-free online experience.
- You will get the lowest rates and the necessary information on choosing a plan that suits you best.
- Their dedicated customer service representatives will be at your disposal seven days a week.
- They are a well-established company in the health insurance industry with over 10 years of experience.
- They specialize in offering health insurance plans to foreigners in the United States.
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OTHER TYPES OF FAMILY BASED GREEN CARDS
The family-based green cards are denoted with the prefix F. there are four types of these visas:
- F-1 for unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens and their minor children.
- F-2 visas for spouses and children of lawful Permanent Residents. There is two of this category
- F-2A visas for spouses and minor children under 21 years old;
- F-2B visas for adult children over 21 years old.
- F-3 visas for married children of US citizens and their families (spouses and minors)
- F-4 visas for siblings of US citizens and their families (spouses or minor children). To petition for siblings, the US citizen must be at least 21 years old
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