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F4 Visa: A Comprehensive Guide for Siblings of U.S. Citizens

Explore our detailed guide on the F4 Visa, tailored for siblings of U.S. citizens looking to reunite with family in the U.S. Learn about eligibility, application steps, and how Do Law Office can assist you.

Unlock Immigration Opportunities With the F4 Visa

The F4 visa, or Family Fourth Preference Visa, is for siblings of U.S. citizens who want to become lawful permanent residents (LPRs) of the U.S. It gives hope to siblings separated by borders, fostering significant familial bonds.

U.S. citizens can sponsor their foreign siblings for immigration to the U.S. through the F4 visa. It also helps the spouses and children of the applicant get lawful permanent residency in the U.S. Additionally, siblings of U.S. citizens who are students may stay and study in the U.S. LPRs can live and work without an employment authorization document.

The path to bringing your family members closer can be complex. However, at Do Law Office, we can assist you in initiating the application process to bring your sibling into the U.S. and ensure everything is going as planned.

Understanding the F4 Visa

The F4 visa falls under the family preference category of immigrant visa. It caters to U.S. citizens’ siblings and is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). To qualify for a F4 visa, eligibility criteria and requirements must be met by the U.S. citizen, the petitioner, and their foreign sibling, the beneficiary.

Eligibility Criteria for the F4 Visa

The petitioner and beneficiary of the F4 visa must meet the following requirements:

  • Relationship:

    • The petitioner or sponsor needs to be a U.S. citizen.

    • The beneficiary (sibling) should be the brother or sister of the U.S. citizen petitioner. Half-brothers or sisters may qualify, but only if they share at least one common parent.

    • Adopted siblings may qualify, too. But, they need to be documented in a foreign country through a birth certificate or adoption documents.

  • Age Requirement: The petitioner should be at least 21 years old.

  • Citizenship Status: The U.S. citizen petitioner should provide evidence of U.S. citizenship. These include a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or U.S. passport.

  • Financial Responsibility: The U.S. citizen petitioner should be willing to serve as the financial sponsor. They should prove their financial ability to support the sibling by submitting an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864).

  • Family Relationship Documentation: The U.S. citizen petitioner should prove the relationship between them and the applicant.

  • Waiting Period and Visa Availability: The F4 Visa has limited visas available each fiscal year. As a result, there may be a waiting period before the visa becomes available.

Immigration laws and green card eligibility criteria may change over time. It is, thus, advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for guidance. Contact Do Law Office to be put in contact with an immigration lawyer to assist you.

F4 Visa Application Process

The process of obtaining the F4 visa involves a series of steps. From gathering documentation to applying, understanding the process is crucial.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply:

  1. Petition Filing:

The U.S. citizen sibling files an immigrant petition on behalf of their foreign sibling. They are required to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  1. Wait for Approval:

After filing the petition, the USCIS reviews it, and either approves or denies it. An approval allows the petitioner to continue the application process. On the other hand, a denial may prompt an appeal or another filing.

    1. National Visa Center (NVC) Processing:

    If the USCIS grants the petition, they will forward it to the NVC for further processing. The NVC will process the approved petition and assign a case number. They will then request the petitioner to pay the filing fee. They may also request supporting documents, including an Affidavit of Support.

    1. Wait for a Visa Number:

    The F4 category has a limited number of visas available each year. The NVC will notify the petitioner and beneficiary when their visa number is about to be available. You can check the monthly availability on the monthly Visa Bulletin

    1. Consular Processing:

    The NVC will transfer the case to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country. They will then schedule an immigrant visa interview once your visa number is available or the priority date is current. Before the interview, the visa beneficiary undergoes a medical examination by an approved physician.

    1. Visa Interview:

    The beneficiary attends the interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country. During the interview, an applicant may be required to provide additional documentation. They should also provide proof of their relationship with the U.S. citizen petitioner.

    1. Visa Approval:

    Once the visa application is approved, the beneficiary will receive a sealed packet that must not be opened. The beneficiary must then pay the USCIS fee. Upon arrival in the U.S., they will present the sealed packet to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

    1. Green Card Processing:

    After entering the U.S., the beneficiary will receive their green card through the mail. The green card is proof of their lawful permanent resident status.

    Ensure you follow the instructions provided by USCIS, the NVC, and the U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are planning to initiate the process, consult an immigration attorney for guidance.

    Processing Times and Expectations

    The processing times for an F4 visa may vary based on several factors. The overall process involves multiple steps with different timelines, including:

    • I-130 Petition filing
    • Waiting for the priority date to become current
    • National Visa Center (NVC) processing
    • Consular processing or adjustment of status
    • Visa issuance

    Factors that may affect the processing times include the following:

    • Country of origin
    • Visa Bulletin and priority dates
    • Demand and quota limits
    • Administrative processing, such as backlogs, security checks, and additional documentation requests

    It is crucial to refer to the Visa Bulletin for information on visa availability. It categorizes applicants based on their priority dates. It also provides information on when they can expect further processing.

    Common Obstacles in the F4 Visa Process

    Here are some common obstacles that you may face during the F4 visa application process:

    • Missing or incomplete documents
    • Waiting times
    • Changes in circumstances, such as marital status, address, or financial situation
    • Administrative delays such as security clearance and administrative processing 
    • Medical inadmissibility
    • Financial support requirements
    • Changes in U.S. immigration policies
    • Communication and language barriers

    How Can Do Law Office Assist in the F4 Visa Process?

    It is essential to understand U.S. immigration laws when applying for a F4 visa. At Do Law Office, we understand immigration law, especially involving family sponsorship. We help our clients by ensuring a successful application process. Our services include:

      • Providing legal advice and strategy 
      • Preparing and reviewing documents required for the F4 visa application
      • Communicating with government agencies on behalf of the applicant
      • Informing you about changes in immigration laws and policies
      • Representing you in appeals and waivers in case of denials or any challenges 
      • Guide you on the consular processing, including interview preparation and document submission 
      • Help deal with admissibility issues such as medical inadmissibility or criminal history
      • Offering insights based on various green card categories to make an informed decision
      • Ensuring your rights are protected, and your case is well handled

      At Do Law Office, we understand immigration laws, processes, and complexities. We have extensive experience handling immigration cases and helping families unite in the U.S. Our Vietnamese immigration lawyer offers assistance for more seamless communication and understanding in cases involving Vietnamese immigrants.

      Your Immigration Journey Begins With Do Law Office

      The F4 visa journey is a transformative experience, bridging the gap between siblings. We ensure you receive comprehensive legal support at Do Law Office to increase your chances of success.

      For experienced legal guidance for the F4 visa or other family-based immigrant visas, do not hesitate to consult our immigration attorneys. Contact us today and start your journey toward family reunification.

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